Quadel’s Kim Clay, right, gets ready to distribute meals with a fellow volunteer.

Kim Clay started her working life as an office manager and administrative assistant in organizations selling cell phones and screws for artificial knees—good jobs she was good at. But, something was missing.

The Indianapolis native had started volunteering with a program she learned about through her church. The Mozel Sanders Foundation delivers fully cooked Thanksgiving meals to those in need—about 40,000 meals in a single day. Clay started as a casual helper and soon found the group consuming more and more of her time and thoughts.

It was the need she encountered. The way people lived. The feeling of doing something concrete and useful for them.

“I lived with my grandmother growing up,” she said. “I saw how elderly people would struggle.”

By coincidence, which she does not really believe in, Clay soon stumbled upon a job at Quadel. The holder of two bachelor’s degrees, in business administration and accounting, she didn’t know anything about the affordable housing industry. What’s more, Quadel’s Indianapolis office had just opened, and there were few people to hold her hand as she learned, starting out in the voucher department.

It was difficult, complicated and sometimes tedious work. But she had found what she was looking for.

That was 20 years ago. Clay moved on from the voucher department to work as a contract renewal specialist and is now a senior contract renewal specialist. She works with owners of low-income properties within Quadel’s management portfolio, helping keep them invested participants in the organization’s work to solve the housing crisis.

“I enjoy that Quadel has allowed me to combine the two of those,” she said—her work and passion for helping people.

A single mom, Clay raised her son, now 27 and a youth pastor, while working in the Indy office. With his school just 10 minutes away, she could slip out at lunchtime to see his programs. On snow days, he was welcomed to come run in the office hallways while his mom worked.

“I’ve made long-standing relationships,” Clay said, mentioning the many staff “fun days,” team outings, annual employee dinners and holiday volunteer drives over the years. “It’s always been a nice atmosphere where everyone gets along, knows about each other’s children.”

Clay still volunteers with the Mozel Sanders Foundation, though she’s far from casual now. As part of the planning committee, she personally organizes the drivers delivering those 40,000 meals from 32 satellite locations with the help of 2,000 volunteers.

And she still works for Quadel. And can’t imagine leaving.

“When I first started there, I had no idea what the job was. I could not imagine 20 years later I would still be there,” Clay said. “It’s been great.”