Volunteering keeps him busy

Lawrence Moorse, standing by his wife, LaVonne, holds an award he received recently for his dedication and service as a volunteer for United Community Action Partnership.

MARSHALL — Some days he works seven days a week if the need is there. Other times, it could be “three or four days; it depends on the food drive,” he said.

If the Boy Scouts, Post Office or another entity just had a food drive — there are food items to be sorted, dates checked and cans and boxes shelved. Lawrence Moorse, 88, has been volunteering at the United Community Action Partnership Kitchen Table Food Shelf for 11 years and was just awarded the Harvey Buchholz Volunteer of the Year Award.

United Community Action Partnership is an organization that helps people in need in Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Redwood and Renville counties. UCAP is a community partner of United Way of Southwest Minnesota. Moorse was given the award at the board of directors’ monthly meeting Nov. 29.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Moorse. “I thought it was great.”

Moorse said there are people who have volunteered longer, but aren’t as old as him.

Volunteer Coordinator Lori Lerohl said Moorse is a very modest person.

“We appreciate him,” she said. “We are blessed to have all of our volunteers.”

“Lawrence works tirelessly stocking our shelves, sorting through food drives and organizing the storeroom,” said Community Resource Coordinator Margaret Palan.

“He is 88 and still continues to take charge of all the big donations of food by stocking all the shelves,” said his daughter, Lori Moorse Radecki. “Sometimes he goes in at 5 in the morning to make sure he has time to get it done.”

Moorse worked for McLaughlin and Schulz, a road construction company, before fully retiring at the age of 79. During the winter months when he was laid off, Moorse started volunteering for Western Community Action when it was located on Main Street in Marshall. He would haul food in his truck until a couple years ago when UCAP acquired an old Marshall Area Transit bus.

“Lawrence used to haul the rescued food items with his pickup from the different markets no matter what the weather conditions were,” Lerohl said. “You would see him climbing up in the truck bed, crawling around on his knees until the work was done.”

“You’re either freezing or sweating,” Moorse said.

Lerohl said volunteers pick up “rescued food” — food close to its expiration date — from companies such as Wal-Mart, Hy-Vee, Schwan’s or Reinhart Foods.

Moorse said he likes to keep busy and the food shelf is a fun place to work. “There is never a dull moment,” he said. He also likes his co-workers — “most of the time,” he said with a smile.

Lerohl said she enjoys Moorse’s sense of humor and listening to Moorse and the other volunteers talk about topics such as history and grandchildren.

“Everyone gets to know each other really well,” she said.

A Minneota native, Moorse has lived and raised his family in Marshall. His daughter says helping others is second nature.

“He has always been there for anyone in need,” said Radecki.

“During the winter months, Lawrence also does snow removal throughout the community,” said Lerohl. “He is on the go all the time helping anyone who needs him.”