Article by Urban Alliance staff.

A year and a half and 230.5 hours later, Pat Watras is still energized by her time volunteering.

It all started in February 2016, when she contacted Urban Alliance about volunteering through UAServe in a behind the scenes capacity, using her knitting skills. Tentative to over commit or to make a commitment that was not the right fit, Pat cautiously attended a Volunteer Orientation, and found herself excited to sign up for new opportunities! 

Initially matched with the Food Pantry at Crossroads Community Cathedral, she quickly became not only part of the team of volunteers, but a valuable right-hand person to the organizers, Dave and Carol Warner.

Crossroads is like family to me and I look forward to going every week. I never miss a week. I know the clients by name and I know their story,” Pat shared.

Last fall, Pat reached out to Rosa McGuire, UA’s Volunteer Manager looking for an additional opportunity. This time she was matched to World Vision’s Teacher Resource Center where she quickly became someone they could count on. Every Monday afternoon, it is her face that teachers see when they arrive after a long day at school, greeting them with a warm welcome, and answers to their shopping questions. Watras reflected, “They (the teachers) are so grateful. They all walk out thinking it’s Christmas and they thank me like I did something and I didn’t do a thing!”

Mike Bassett, World Vision East Hartford’s Warehouse Manager credits Pat’s efficiency along with her caring and generous heart for the increase in teachers they are able to have come through every day. “Before Pat started volunteering with us, our maximum capacity of teachers we could have come shop per afternoon session was 40.  With Pat’s help, we are now able to serve 60 teachers per shopping session because of how quickly and warmly she is able to get them checked in and given instructions. That is astounding increase!”

Pat earned the title of UAServe Volunteer Champion in June 2016 after completing over 25 hours of volunteer service. When she is not volunteering, Pat loves watching football and working on knitting projects, much like the one she originally contacted Urban Alliance to get involved in.

If you are interested learning more about the volunteer opportunities available through UAServe, please visit or contact Rosa McGuire, Urban Alliance’s Volunteer Manager at or 860.986.6033.

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