Speaking with Olivia Tsang, I get the feeling that she has found something on Casino Road.
After time in Indiana and California, her family settled in Kirkland. But she is not Eastside Olivia. She has degrees in Religion and East Asian Studies from Oberlin in Ohio, but she’s not Midwest Olivia, Academic Olivia nor Reverend Olivia. She taught English in Japan for a year and a half before the pandemic brought her home: mostly middle schoolers, and it was hard and rewarding in the way that sharpens a person. But she is not, at least for now, Teacher Olivia. Her kickboxing dreams are on hold because of Covid-19, and she has no fights scheduled. She is not Warrior Olivia.
So who is Olivia Tsang?
“Olivia is an amazing volunteer. Dedicated, organized, dependable. She could easily run the Pantry operation on Tuesdays,” says VOA Project Manager Dave Jordan.
When she returned from Japan because of the Coronavirus last Spring, “I wanted to help,” she says. “I love the people here and the volunteers. The spirit and the community.” Olivia volunteers every Tuesday at VOA’s Casino Road Food Pantry. On the day I'm visiting, they gave food to 163 households representing 756 individuals. Olivia credits Dave with creating community at the Pantry. “He makes everyone feel welcome. He sees us, you know?”
At least for now, one day a week, she is Volunteer Olivia. And during this uncertain time, that is enough.
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Olivia’s story is one part of our 2021 Volunteer Appreciation campaign. To learn more or discover how you can give back, visit: voaww.org/volunteer.