LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – The former spokeswoman for Purdue University may be retired, but she’s finding plenty of ways to keep busy. Some of those ways include starting a furniture bank and helping with local food banks. As we continue to look at this year’s YWCA Salute to Women nominees, Jeanne Norberg is one of this year’s Women of Distinction.
After 27 years at Purdue University, Norberg retired last May. She may be a familiar face to many. She was the university’s spokeswoman who dealt with the media for local and national news stories. She said in times of need, the students really made an impact on her.
“We had a riot on campus and to see how the students came forward and said this is not what Purdue’s about. The students have to be the highlight, I think, of the time that I spent there. Both professionally in public relations, but also in instructing them,” said Norberg.
But since retirement, Norberg has certainly been keeping busy. About 20 months ago, she helped start the First Methodist Furniture Bank.
“Our social service agencies said it was our number one need. They were helping people facing a housing, or an economic, or medical crisis get back on their feet, get back into housing and then they had no furniture. So, there were legions of people all across the city who stepped up to help and that’s enormously rewarding,” said Norberg.
Norberg said the furniture bank has helped more than 350 families in the last year and saved about 2,000 pieces of furniture from going to the landfill. Norberg has also been busy with Food Finders’ mobile pantries and backpack program.
“We now have it in every school in the county. This helps our children have food on the weekend, they take it home,” said Norberg.
And although she has her hands full, Norberg credits the community for the success of these programs.
“It’s just amazing in this community how many people will come forward with their time, their talent, their treasures and just so generously,” said Norberg.
Norberg will be recognized at the YWCA’s annual Salute to Women banquet on Tuesday.