There isn’t much Norma Malott won’t do to help her community.
“Norma Malott is a hard-working, non-judgemental, loving and caring person who is like a grandmother to so many of us,” says Candy O’Brien, a staff member with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Kings County branch, where Malott is a volunteer.
The Kentville mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and artist, dedicates hours of her time helping out.
She’s well known in the community. After growing up in New Minas, Malott attended the Mack Business College in Kentville before beginning an office career at 14 Wing Greenwood, then switching to work as a school librarian at Saint Mary's Elementary School in Aylesford for 32 years.
“I really enjoyed working with the children,” she said. “And it came with an extra bonus - I liked having Christmas and the summer off.”
Now retired, Malott spends her time volunteering.
She spends Friday mornings at the Kentville Legion, volunteering with CMHA. She’s helped out with the SOUP (Sharing Our Unappreciated Produce) program for the past four years.
“I help getting veggies ready for the soup pot, get desserts ready, and talk with and help some of the volunteers that come and need help with their task,” she explains.
Through this volunteer activity, Malott says she has made many great friendships, and finds it so rewarding to help in this capacity.
O’Brien says she can’t describe how much Malott means to the staff.
“She supports us in and out of the kitchen - always a kind word, and is always looking out for others,” says O’Brien.
At Christmastime, Malott helps to fill and wrap shoeboxes for the CMHA Fill a Box of Cheer program and donates her time at least three times a week, helping with the Salvation Army kettle drive throughout November and December.
Then, in December, when the Salvation Army does up food hampers and toy bags for families in the community, Malott is right there to help with that as well.
“Just being able to help people - helping to supply a lunch, being a friend, making Christmas better for children, makes volunteering so rewarding,” she says. “So many rewards come from helping.”
Sarah MacDonald, another CMHA staff person, says that Malott is a sweet woman who can’t be thanked enough for all she does for the community.
“Norma is one SOUP-er lady,” MacDonald says.
When not volunteering, Malott and her husband have a shared hobby in woodworking.
Malott says her husband, Bob, has always enjoyed working with wood. She had taken tole painting lessons a few years ago, so they decided to join their talents and have come up with painted wooden creations that range from animals and birds to fishermen - and anything in between.
“My husband carves and does intarsia pieces and I paint them,” she says.
In addition, Malott paints Santa faces on gourds and pumpkins on gallon jars and places tea lights inside them.
Although she has done a few craft fairs over the years, Malott says it just isn’t their thing. They have sold a few items to The Teazer Gift Shop in Mahone Bay, but prefers to keep this as a hobby, not a business, mainly making things for family.
Overall, Malott says it is a relaxing hobby and that the time goes by so fast.