A hobby that has stayed with Lena Belle Cray since her younger days is knitting, and that talent is something she uses to serve others. Cray is a volunteer for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), a member of Helping Hands Happy People, RSVP’s Stroke Club Support Program, and an active member of her church.
Cray works to share her joy with others in RSVP. She has donated her time and talents with them since 1989. The Helping Hands Happy People knitting program is a part of RSVP. She especially enjoys knitting and spends 50 to 60 hours a week working on afghans, baby hats, gloves, and scarves. These items are then distributed to those in need. In addition to knitting for RSVP, Cray also worked more than 10 years at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission making quilts along with banana bread for the residents.
She has been a member of the RSVP Stroke Club Support Program since 1987. Because of her work with that program, she became a one-on-one visitor for a stroke patient at a local health facility. There, she helped with exercises, accompanied the patient on walks, and made herself available for whatever the patient wanted or needed to do. In addition to this, Cray has been an active member of her church since 1947. There, she has served on the church Board, sang in the choir, and she still plays the organ and works with the youth fellowships.
Also, she helped with the task force of the Shepherd’s Center. She tutored children with learning disabilities through Senior Services’ Intergenerational Program and currently spends countless hours there. She files records and handles whatever other office duties need to be done. Cray also finds time to give to the RSVP’s Bulk Mail Program that provides free assistance to non-profits to help process mailings.
Lena Belle Cray has a staunch work ethic and is determined. Years ago she had to drop out of high school to get a job, but she went back 35 years later and earned her diploma. She also worked part-time and raised five children. Though her life was not easy, she gives her life now to help make circumstances better for others.