Margie Popp was COTS’ longest-serving volunteer, dedicating over thirty years to COTS and the former Petaluma Kitchen. Most of her service was spent as the lead volunteer for the lunch shift at Mary’s Table on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. She was an example of service not only at COTS but in our community. 

Margie lived in Petaluma for all 99 years of her life. In 1945, she started working as an “office girl,” earning 17 cents an hour for a 45-hour workweek. She worked for the same company for 38 years before retiring in the 1980s. After retirement, Margie sought other ways to fill her time and found a calling by feeding those in need. 

Margie began her volunteer service at the Petaluma Kitchen, which is now COTS’ Mary’s Table program.  Margie always felt called to help others by providing meals. Director of Programs, Robin Phoenix, recalled why Margie volunteered: “My mom used to feed the hobos on the railroad tracks. She said everyone needs to eat. I’m following in her footsteps to feed those who are hungry; she taught me this.” 

Margie’s dedication and commitment were recognized over time, and she became the lead volunteer for her shifts. Margie often volunteered for over 50 hours each month! She often said it was the clients who kept her coming back year after year. Engagement Specialist, Diana Morales, remarked, “No one was more dedicated to the mission of COTS and the clients she served meals to.” Margie continued to serve until the Covid-19 pandemic made it too difficult for her to volunteer. Though many hoped she would return after the pandemic but it was too challenging at age 97. 

During her time at COTS, Margie’s work profoundly impacted staff, clients, and fellow volunteers. We are deeply grateful for her legacy of service in our community! 

To learn more about Margie’s service, read the Argus Courier article awarding her the 2014 Petaluma Volunteer of the Year Award. 

Click here to read more about Margie’s life and legacy.