Born and raised in Jefferson City, Kimberley Woodruff considers the community her home.
Woodruff has spent time away but found herself returning to the city of her roots.
And a few weeks ago, she was hired as the volunteer coordinator for River City Habitat for Humanity.
“One of the things that really hits home for me — is that I am passionate about everyone having a decent, affordable, safe place to live,” Woodruff said. “Nothing brought that more to the surface for me than the effects of the (2019 Jefferson City) tornado.”
People lost their homes, she said. And some of the people so affected had been living in conditions before the storm that were unacceptable for humans.
Her passion for people having the opportunity to own and feel safe in their own homes grew after the storm. She wanted people to know they could afford that home.
“It will lead them to help build wealth and take care of their families,” Woodruff continued. “Right now, I feel like I’m in the perfect place. My faith and my passions have intersected.”
Woodruff is an ordained elder at Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church. She serves on the ministry staff. A lifelong member, she follows in the footsteps of her parents and grandparents, who were also members at Quinn Chapel.
“Church is about community. That is one of the reasons you see me out and about,” she said. “My dad started us volunteering at a very young age. My sister and I used to volunteer (at the concession stands) for the Alumni Association at Lincoln football games when we were kids.”
They volunteered at events for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Obviously, there were a lot of events related to church and church functions or activities she and her sister volunteered for, she said.
“I don’t consider that volunteering, but it is being community and being church,” she said. “I like to carry church and community to everything I do.”
She was a big sister. She volunteered at Missouri Faith Voices. She does things to help better the community.
Woodruff graduated from Jefferson City High School, then went away to college, but quickly returned.
She worked for the Department of Transportation, Hy-Vee and Driver’s BBQ.
“A lot of people probably wouldn’t be proud of a part-time job. But, there’s a lot of history in that restaurant,” Woodruff said, adding her parents were friends with Clarence Driver’s family. “It was more than a barbecue restaurant. We all operated as family.”
She left Jefferson City, and moved to Overland Park, Kansas, and returned to working for Hy-Vee. She was a cashier, then moved to management. Climbing the ladder, she took on more roles in the grocery chain.
Eventually, she helped establish new stores.
She worked for the chain for more than 20 years.
“I learned a lot about the retail business. But, it was Hy-Vee where I developed my management style,” she said. “But, that’s also where I really, really, really learned the value of people.”
Woodruff enjoyed building relationships with customers and their children. The children really drive retail, she continued.
She learned the importance of building relationships not only with customers, but with employees. And she learned from Hy-Vee how to show appreciation to employees.
“That all transfers over to volunteers,” she said. “Those are more reasons why I’m excited to be the volunteer coordinator — I get to work with people. They’re not paid, but I still get to help them develop their skills and work in areas where their passions lie.”
She helps them see the value of what they do.
“That’s what I love the most,” Woodruff said.
Originally Appeared Here