Meet Kara Zukoski
Jess Park, director of school programs, recently corresponded with HandsOn Connect user Kara Zukoski to discuss her contributions to The Palatine Township Food Pantry, The Wheeling Township Food Pantry, WINGS, Connections for the Homeless, The Harper Student Emergency Relief Fund, and the 214Cares Emergency Fund. Their correspondence has been edited.
Jess Park: In a few sentences, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Kara Zukoski: Hi there! My name is Kara Zukoski, and I live in Buffalo Grove. I work at Harbor Freight Tools and Fannie May Chocolates. I am also taking online classes at Harper College to earn an IT Support Technician Certificate. I live with my mother, stepfather, and dog Ginger. I also have a sister who lives nearby. I’m a true crime nut who enjoys watching both shows and documentaries.
JP: How has the pandemic affected your worldview and life?
KZ: The pandemic has affected my life and worldview in several ways. I am taking many more precautions when leaving the house for work or to go to the grocery store. Social distancing from my friends and sister has been difficult. I am learning to take things day by day.
While the pandemic and the changes have been stressful, I am incredibly grateful for the people in my life. I have an amazing family and wonderful friends and coworkers. I am learning to focus and be grateful for the positives in my life and to roll with the punches.
JP: How do you volunteer? How has volunteering now been different from previous experiences?
KZ: I go to the HandsOn Suburban Chicago (HOSC) website and take a picture on my phone of the most needed items posted by one or two organizations. I’ve been shopping at Woodman’s weekly and picking up as many of those items as I can. I shop for my family and the one or two organizations and then drop off the food and supplies a day or two later.
I have been donating food and supplies to various food pantries and organizations. I’ve donated to The Palatine Township Food Pantry, The Wheeling Township Food Pantry, WINGS, and Connections for the Homeless. I have also made monetary donations to The Harper Student Emergency Relief Fund and the 214Cares Emergency Fund.
It has been different from previous volunteering experiences, because I am doing these experiences alone rather than with a group of people.
JP: Why did you decide to volunteer?
KZ: After reading various news articles about the coronavirus, I knew I wanted to do something to help. I did some research on Google to find volunteering opportunities in my area and found the HOSC website. After seeing how various organizations needed food and supply donations, I knew that would be a great way to help.
JP: What has been the best part of volunteering so far?
KZ: I am grateful for the opportunity to continue working during this crisis. Because of this, I feel blessed to contribute to these incredible organizations and food pantries that are helping people who are most impacted by this pandemic.
JP: What have you learned by volunteering at this time?
KZ: I have learned how important it is to be united during this difficult time. We all must be separated right now, but that does not mean we cannot unite to help each other and those who need help during this crisis. How we volunteer might be different than how we are used to, but we are unified under the same goal of helping those in need.
JP: What would you say to people who are thinking about volunteering but are afraid of getting sick?
KZ: If you can, monetary and Amazon wish list donations are a great way to help organizations. Following stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines are a great way to contribute to flattening the curve.
JP: What is your favorite at-home activity and why?
KZ: My favorite activity has been watching Netflix crime documentaries. My coworkers and friends have given me a bunch of recommendations to watch. My online classes have also been keeping me occupied. I also enjoy listening to classic rock music and singing along, very badly, to some of my favorite songs.
JP: Would you mind sharing your list of recommendations of true crime documentaries? I’m sure others are looking for things to watch on Netflix.
KZ: Sure! I have been watching The Pharmacist, Tiger King, and How to Fix a Drug Scandal.
So many of us are in need in so many different ways, and the only way to overcome this crisis is together. Join Kara in catalyzing the power of collective responsibility by signing up for an urgent opportunity today.
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