How committed is Meg Welker to supporting her community? She’d walk into a frozen lake in February to help others.
Welker, a senior environmental professional based in Hamlin, has been a frequent participant in the Paupack Plunge. That’s a charity event where people wade into icy Lake Wallenpaupack to raise money for two volunteer organizations that provide search and rescue dive services.
Though she was unable to take the plunge in 2016, Welker has been among the event’s top fundraisers in other years. (The photo at right shows Meg and the rest of PPL’s team entering the water at the 2014 Plunge. Looks like fun, yes?)
She’s been stabbed in the name of charity as well – though, thankfully, not for real. Meg helps raise money for scholarships through a local Penn State alumni chapter. As part of that commitment, she and her husband acted in a “murder mystery” fundraising dinner last year.
“I got killed. It was horrific. But it was for a good cause,” she jokes. “I never knew corn syrup and red food coloring would be such a mess.”
In more serious settings, you’ll also find Meg serving on community boards. She’s a member of the Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed Management District Board, and serves as chair of the dinner planning committee for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. (The council’s dinner is its chief annual fundraising event.)
And, Meg supports her community by supporting others – donating baskets to raffles; going to fundraising events for local volunteer fire companies; donating to friends and co-workers running 5K races for good causes; and coordinating a fundraising event for a high school class trip to the presidential inauguration.
“In recent years, I’ve taken more of a buckshot approach to community support,” she says. “I show up and I buck up as often as I can, as a helper to a variety of causes and organizations.”
One area where she’d like to make a dent this year is hunger. Recently, she served on a committee reviewing grant applications from her area, and was struck by the size and scope of the problem.
“When they’re collecting items for food pantries, I always try to give something,” she says. “That just breaks me up when I think about it. We take it so for granted.
“Where I live, there’s wealth as you’ve never seen it, then there’s poverty like you’ve never seen it. There’s a real dichotomy of demographics in the community. People I know are struggling. That’s something I’ve personally committed to this year and tried to find the right avenue to offer up my time.”
You can bet that even frigid water won’t hold her back from this latest challenge.