August 10, 2018
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  • Randi Hautala (right) volunteers with Bello Machre and the food pantry run out of Gospel Community Church to help improve the lives of her neighbors.
    Photo by Maya Pottiger
    Randi Hautala (right) volunteers with Bello Machre and the food pantry run out of Gospel Community Church to help improve the lives of her neighbors.

Pasadena Resident Volunteers, Donates To Positively Impact Community

Maya Pottiger
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July 10, 2018

Randi Hautala has been fortunate enough to travel all over — not only the country, but the world.

During her travels, she notices what’s going on behind the tourist curtain.

“I see what is happening all over. I will not close my eyes to this,” Hautala said. “I’m horrified that right in my own neighborhood, there’s people living in the woods, people living in tents. There’s kids going without anything.”

Now retired, instead of working shifts at Kohl’s, Hautala spends her time volunteering around Pasadena to help make life better for her less fortunate neighbors.

However, it was Kohl’s that introduced Hautala to Bello Machre, where she has now volunteered for roughly five years. At Kohl’s, each store has a program that enables employees to volunteer in the community. One day, Kohl’s asked Bello Machre for volunteers to help stuff envelopes, and Hautala went over to help with a group of coworkers.

“I kept going back and back and back and back,” Hautala said. “They’re very good to their volunteers, as well. They don’t just say, ‘Here, do this, and when you’re done, leave.’ They’re very friendly people, very accommodating.”

Bello Machre is an organization that provides “loving care, opportunity and guidance for people with developmental disabilities in Maryland,” per its mission statement. In addition to stuffing envelopes, Hautala puts up Christmas decorations, hangs flyers around town and volunteers at the organization’s annual walk/bike/run 5K, Every Step Counts.

One year, the group homes held a decorating contest during the holidays. Hautala and her husband drove around to all the addresses and filled out official judging sheets to determine which house was the best decorated.

“Sometimes I think Bello Machre is overlooked. You have all these big, huge organizations with national campaigns, and they have a lot of high-priced publicity,” Hautala said. “At Bello Machre, I’m not just one person in the cog. I actually feel like I’m making a difference with what I do.”

In addition to her work with Bello Machre, Hautala volunteers at the food pantry run out of Gospel Community Church in Riviera Beach.

It’s only open the second Saturday of every month, but Hautala has found many ways to be impactful. She helps set up for Saturday’s giveaway on Fridays, always brings loads of donations, and is currently working on cleaning the floors and acquiring a new freezer for the pantry.

For Hautala, it was important for her work to directly affect the people living in her community.

“I want to help my community where I live. It’s one thing to give to the Maryland Food Bank or the county food bank, which are both great, and they serve a lot of people,” Hautala said. “But I don’t live in Crofton, and I don’t live in Germantown. I live right near Riviera Beach. I live in Pasadena. People ride their bicycle from my neighborhood to this food pantry.”


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