It takes a community of volunteers to support RMHC families: Judy Adams

To celebrate volunteer appreciation week, we interviewed Judy Adams, Director of Volunteer Programs at RMHC of Western Washington and Alaska, to learn more about her job and the essential work volunteers do to support families in Seattle and Alaska.

Adams says it like it is and beneath those words are layers upon layers of compassion and respect for the people she works with and the families we help support. “I think volunteering is such an honorable thing to do,” she said. “And I don’t just take anybody; you have to love what you do because six months down the road it might not be satisfying anymore.”

Sitting in Adams’s office, her walls are decorated with pictures of past families, vintage McDonald’s toys, and sayings about serving one’s community. She started working at RMHC 19 years ago after being a volunteer at the Seattle House. “There’s something really powerful about doing something good and not having any financial motivation. I was here for three hours a week when I was a volunteer, and when I left, I knew I had helped,” said Adams.  

When she started her job, the Seattle House had roughly 40 volunteers, but as the organization grew to house more families, so did the need for a larger volunteer community. Prior to the pandemic in 2019, 700 volunteers were in and out of the House weekly. “Right now we’re at 159 volunteers who come in weekly. And what helps the whole thing come together is that we all have the same mission; helping families,” she said. 

Through the years, Adams has helped grow a complicated network of volunteer services encompassing indoor and outdoor work groups, a meal program, activity nights, and an array of volunteer positions. 

Every family that arrives at the House has a unique set of needs, and we depend on volunteers to help us meet those. Whether it’s cooking warm chocolate chip cookies to boost families’ spirits, taking a shift greeting them at the front desk, or helping organize food donations, volunteers play an important role in daily operations.

“I’ve always felt like I’ve had the best job here. And I think a big part of that is because the people I meet want to do good. The best part of them comes in and sits down with me and says, ‘I want to help’,” Adams said. 

Thank you to all the volunteers who spend countless hours at our RMHC Houses and want to come back. You make every day brighter for families and staff.

If you’re new and want to get involved or have been away please check out our volunteer page.