Volunteer completes her work silently

There's a volunteer in Glendale who likes to keep a low profile, whether walking her black poodle along Brand Boulevard collecting trash or helping with the Meals on Wheels program.

Karil Drake is who the Salvation Army calls when the Meals on Wheels program needs extra help. She makes volunteering a priority and delivers hot meals to the elderly and people who can't leave their homes or cook.

"They really appreciate somebody coming in," Drake said. "They're real thankful when I bring the meals in. They're happy to have someone to talk to for a minute. They're shut in, they can't drive, and they're not walking well, so they can't get around."

The 11-year volunteer grew up in Connecticut and moved to Glendale in 1990. Her aunt and uncle lived in Los Angeles, and she moved to the area for her job with First Interstate Bank. She worked as a trainer and traveled all over the country.

After Drake's daughter Celeste was born, she stopped working and began her involvement with Church Women United as treasurer, the Philanthropic Educational Organization, a women's sorority that fundraises for women educational loans; and joined Meals on Wheels.

In Glendale, the Salvation Army runs the Meals on Wheels program in coordination with more than 25 local Christian congregations. These religious groups also form Church Women United of Glendale.

Drake will co-chair the upcoming 33rd Founders Day benefit luncheon on July 20. The charity event invites women from the congregations to bring salads to raise money for Meals on Wheels.

Rick White, director of social services and volunteer coordinator, has worked with Drake for three years and describes her as a people-lover.

"She's dependable, she's positive, she's upbeat," he said. "She'll do whatever she can to help us out when we ask for her help."

Drake likes to keep her work quiet — even when she collects donated items, packs them tightly into a Ford Explorer and delivers the contents to Los Angeles-area donation centers.

"I like doing [volunteer work] quietly, underneath, so this [article] kind of mucks it up," she said. "I don't like the exposure."

She and her daughter distribute birthday cards once a month to Solheim Lutheran home. Drake has memories of taking her young daughter to entertain the skilled nursing home residents. One time they brought along her neighbor's baby, too.

"We'd let them hold the baby, and they'd just light up," Drake said. "We'd entertain them while keeping them busy."

In addition, Drake is collects donated magazines and distributes them to Olive View Hospital in Sylmar, a Los Angeles County Hospital.

She works for whomever requests her assistance, she said.

"I help here and there when I can," Drake said. "If you catch me, you can have me."

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