The Bouvin Family
Retiring two years ago, Karl Bouvin asked himself, ‘”Where are the needs?” He identified food as the first thing he wanted to help with and families in need as the next. Volunteering with Community Action Center he rescued produce from grocery stores that was taken by U-Haul to multiple sites in the community. He also serves as a ‘Shopper’ for people at the food shelf. Taking their order in the parking lot, he pushed his cart through the grocery aisles and would sometimes need to chat via phone to offer additional options that were available. Continuing to volunteer and expand his role at Ruth’s House in Faribault was the next check on his list.
Karl wasn’t the first member in his family to volunteer for Ruth’s House, but he found his sweet spot and is the longest lasting one. Ruth’s House provides transitional housing in a safe, supportive and healing environment to help women and families on their way to a new beginning. Carolyn Joyce, Bouvin’s wife and their daughter Millie were the first to serve with members of a Brownie Troop eight years ago, but the mission resonated and the family all went back, including older son Grant to volunteer.
Over the years Karl has served as the groundskeeper beginning with a yard in sorry shape and some well-worn play structures. Loads of old toys and broken pieces went to the dump and the grass emerged and was cared for. An old playhouse caught the eye of Karl and Grant last summer. The cedar was stripped and father and son had an opportunity to ‘flip’ the fixer upper. New paint, an awning over the window and a service shelf were installed. “Café Ruth” (as the window was called) allowed children the opportunity to ‘serve’ their mothers and enjoy time in imaginative play. The next renovation will be inside the playhouse with new flooring and a corner kitchen. Clearly, Karl has enjoyed ‘the sweet little playhouse’ and his ideas keep coming. ”There’s a train that needs some servicing,” he says and when Grant comes home from school in Schenectady, NY the pair will don their railroad engineer hats and grab the toolbox again.
Daughter Millie, a junior in High School spent time last summer volunteering with children teaching arts and crafts. She was the first to serve with her Brownie Troop and through the years she has found new and rewarding opportunities as her interests grew.
The Bouvin family has seen the need and each in their own way, has contributed their talents and skills over the years. They have all been FOUND at Ruth’s House making their contribution to the cause that warms their hearts.