Kathy Spencer retires after almost 25 years at Food Outreach


Kathy Spencer retires after almost 25 years at Food Outreach

After nearly 25 years at Food Outreach, Client Services Director Kathy Spencer is retiring. She joined Food Outreach in 2000 as the Volunteer Coordinator and Client Services Manager, a dual role that gave Kathy the opportunity to get to know many of Food Outreach’s volunteers and clients.

“My favorite part of working at Food Outreach would be the relationships with the volunteers and clients and community partners. It’s been such a long journey. I’ve gotten to know so many people that are so valuable in the HIV community. Then when we moved into cancer in 2006, we began working with the cancer care community. The relationships are my favorite part.”

Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Kathy was a nurse in psychiatry at Broadlands Medical Center for 10 years and then she was the first outreach nurse working with the homeless population including both families and individuals. Kathy went on to become the first executive director of a new homeless shelter in Des Moines before moving to St. Louis and starting at Food Outreach.

After 18 years, Kathy became Food Outreach’s Director of Client Services.  During the pandemic, Kathy was instrumental in helping Food Outreach expand their home delivery service. She considers it to be one of her major achievements at Food Outreach. “One major accomplishment was the transition during COVID from about 40 people in our home delivery to now nearing 500. One of the things that we realized during the pandemic was the difficulties that clients have with transportation. We discussed at length our delivery program and put in place steps to increase the number of people that receive home delivery.”

But for Kathy, her biggest accomplishment is the connections she made with Food Outreach clients. “The interactions with clients is one of the best parts of my job. I love getting to know people and having them share their life with me. I remember a client that was struggling with substance abuse issues. We talked and talked, and he decided to get help. He attributes his success partly to Food Outreach. I was able to write a letter to the courts talking about his progress which helped him get into housing and other financial assistance. The clients at Food Outreach are amazing. They’re the most resilient individuals I’ve ever met in my life.”

Outside of work, Kathy raised a daughter. She feels that her work at Food Outreach influenced her daughter to get her Master of Social Work (MSW), and why her daughter believes love is love and is an advocate for the LGBT community.

After she retires, Kathy plans to move to Iowa to spend more time with family and be close to her daughter. Kathy and her partner of 13 years, Ronny, also plan on traveling and gardening together.

As for Food Outreach, Kathy would like to see them raise funds for a new building and expand into more diagnoses. She knows the organization is in good hands. “It has been my honor and privilege to be a small part of the Food Outreach community for so many years. I have enjoyed working with the talented staff. I believe Food Outreach has the best volunteers, the best staff, and the most amazing clients, and I intend to be a lifelong supporter.”

You are donating to : Food Outreach

How much would you like to donate?
$25 $50 $100
Would you like to make regular donations? I would like to make donation(s)
How many times would you like this to recur? (including this payment) *
Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Additional Note