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Published December 22 2011

Unsung heroes: Grondahl organizes YWCA hygiene items for those in need

FARGO - For a few hours each week, Connie Grondahl donates her time to organizing a closet.

It seems like a simple, tedious task, but Grondahl’s volunteer hours at the YWCA’s emergency shelter here offer an impact far beyond the rows of shelves she stocks.

The shelter’s hygiene closet stores basic necessities that women who stay at the shelter can use: soaps, toiletries, towels, underwear and other items.

When Grondahl started volunteering at the YWCA in June, the contents of the large walk-in closet were haphazardly stored because the shelter’s staff spends most of their time dedicated to other tasks.

But organizing the closet was a perfect fit for Grondahl, who was seeking a new opportunity to give back to the community.

“I love to organize,” she said. “I feel like it’s just doing my small part for the “Y.” It’s such a wonderful organization … and they do so many good things for the women in our community that need their help.”

Grondahl stocks the closet’s shelves each week with new donations, organizes the products and takes inventory of what items the shelter is running low on.

She also spends time filling hygiene bags with basic toiletries that are given to women and children when they arrive at the shelter.

“A lot of times when they come there, they just have the clothes on their back,” Grondahl said. “With the bag, she can take a shower, relax and get away from the world for a while.”

But Grondahl also leaves a little something special in each bag, said Amber Dahl, the YWCA’s volunteer coordinator.

“She thought of it herself to put these inspirational notes in there,” Dahl said. “It helps them a lot, because when they come here, they’re scared; they’re unsure of what’s going to happen.”

Dahl said Grondahl’s good work is felt across the shelter by the good deeds she does.

“I can’t even tell you; it’s the biggest help. It takes a lot of time off our hands,” Dahl said. “She’s willing to jump in where needed. … She’s amazing and everyone loves her.”

Grondahl is modest about her efforts, though.

“I hardly do anything,” she said. “I go and I organize my closet, and I leave. … I hope that I have a ripple effect. It’s my hope that I can make a difference just a few hours a week.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541