Mary Hohulin, MFB Florida volunteer, brings enthusiasm to help others
"Sure, I can do that." Mary Hohulin has never let a desire to stay in her comfort zone stand in the way of her career, volunteer pursuits, and challenging activities. And, fortunately … so far, so good.
Mary has been volunteering up to forty hours a week for Midwest Food Bank Florida. She serves as a bookkeeper, keeping track of monetary donations, paying the bills, and gathering and supplying information for county and state grants. Although she started with other tasks, the staff soon asked her to take on more responsibility. "Sure, I can do that," Mary told them. And she does.
After receiving her bachelor of science degree from Illinois State University in 1971, Mary landed a job teaching fourth grade at Oakdale Grade School in Normal. "They asked me, 'Will you coach cheerleading?' I told them, 'Sure, I can do that.' I had no idea what I was doing, but I did it for four years."
The next step in her career was teaching fifth grade in Carlock, Illinois. Part of her job was coaching girls' track, basketball, and volleyball. "I had never been to a track meet in my life," she says. "I knew nothing about coaching any of it." Nonetheless, she rose to the occasion.
Mary moved on to 21 years of teaching "mostly math" in Morton, Illinois. "In Morton, I was asked to coach the pom-pom squad. Of course, I said I could do that, but I knew even less about that than about cheerleading and track."
In 2000, Illinois Central College asked Mary if she'd be willing to teach a summer course in statistics. "I'd only taught statistics at the junior high level, but naturally I said, 'Sure, I can do that.'" Two years later, she became a fulltime faculty member, teaching a variety of college math courses including math for elementary school teachers. She held that post until just before she retired and moved to Florida.
Newly retired, Mary found had time on her hands. She was familiar with the Illinois-based Midwest Food Bank, and when she learned that there was a branch in Fort Myers, she signed on as a volunteer. That was in October of 2016. At first, Mary performed tasks including distributing and inventorying food coming in and going out of the food bank. She didn't hesitate when in early 2019 she was asked to take on the vital role of bookkeeper.
While she's able to work at home, Mary's normally on-site as much as four days a week. "I love it. I love the time I spend at MFB Florida," she says. "I feel so glad to be a part of it."
Mary lives in a studio apartment in Shell Point Retirement Community. She delights in her view of the river and frequent dolphin sightings. "I'm blessed," Mary says. "I have a real family, a Shell Point family, a church family, and a Midwest Food Bank family."
In her spare time, Mary enjoys playing cards with her Shell Point friends and playing hymns and classical music on the piano. New inspiration struck recently when Mary took a Shell Point Academy course, "Writing Your Spiritual Legacy." She's determined to make good use of what she learned and write the story of her own faith journey.
Sure, she can do that!
This story was adapted and edited from a story written by Barbara Hill Freeman for Shell Point Life. Ms. Freeman and Shell Point Life graciously granted MFB permission to adapt and use the article. Below are a video and several photos from the article.