Volunteer envelope stuffers seal their service


By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — Volunteers gather each month at the Diocese of Davenport offices to help stuff envelopes. Their reasons for doing so range from “something to do” to “helping out the parish or diocese” when asked.

Anne Marie Amacher
Sue Matje of St. Anthony Parish in Davenport seals an envelope for a mailing for the Diocese of Davenport. She is one of many volunteers who help with monthly mailings.

Laurie Hoefling, staff support for the diocese, is in charge of the envelope stuffing process. She said diocesan staff helped at one time, but mailings were outsourced about a decade ago. When that job returned to diocesan headquarters (the chancery), it was decided that volunteers would certainly be welcome to assist.

Since at least October 2011, volunteers have arrived at the chancery monthly, or sometimes more often, to help stuff envelopes. Primarily, the mailings are reminders about pledges for the Annual Diocesan Appeal and Capital Campaign. Each January, additional mailings for contribution/
tax/IRS statements are sent, Hoefling said.


About nine volunteers participate most months. When needed, Hoefling said, a call is put out and more volunteers arrive. They have been recruited in various ways — a call from a current volunteer, a friend, or through parishes and diocesan staff recommendations.

Sue Matje of St. Anthony Parish in Davenport started volunteering in 2011. “I’m gaining my angel wings,” she laughed. She and her husband missed the diocesan 50th wedding anniversary celebration several years ago, but they weren’t forgotten. “Bishop (Martin Amos) came by one day. He got out his Bible and had us renew our vows. It was so cool.” She began volunteering shortly afterwards.

Ben and Ronalee Huntington of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport heard about the need for volunteers from their daughter, Lynnette Sowells, diocesan database coordinator. “It’s something to do,” Ben said. Ronalee said it’s a relatively simple job to do that involves sitting, which is easier for her than standing. “It’s doing something worthwhile.”

Joan Schmits of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport learned about the need through diocesan volunteer Erma Wiszmann. “It’s something useful,” Schmits said.

Pat Erickson, also of St. Anthony’s in Davenport, said she started as a volunteer at the reception desk, then began helping in the finance office several years ago. Eventually that led to stuffing envelopes. “I feel blessed to be able to help.” She got into volunteering at the diocese after she retired from working at St. Anthony’s.

Sandy Hagerman of Our Lady of Victory Parish is a former diocesan staff receptionist. She said when she moved back to the Quad Cities she wanted to keep involved in the church. “I have been working or volunteering for the church almost my whole life.” She brought along her daughter Sara Nicoletto as well to help with the November mailing.

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