By: Kristin Pollock
“Our guests love volunteers” is my catchphrase. As Volunteer Coordinator at Good Shepherd Center in Wilmington, North Carolina, I have the privilege of working with many volunteers. Over 700 community members reached out to Good Shepherd in the past year. These office groups, church groups, families, and friends put in over 26,000 hours of much appreciated hard work—or a half-million dollars’ worth of service. Good Shepherd was proud to take part in the first CPA Day of Service in 2012. We’re even more excited to continue our partnership with increased opportunities this year!
Good Shepherd Center began in 1983 as a modest soup kitchen and has expanded over the past thirty years. Today our mission is to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and foster transition to housing. We work with individuals not only to meet basic needs, but to secure safe and affordable housing for the homeless in our community. In a given year, we transition upwards of 200 men, women, and children back to independence. None of this is possible without volunteers to help with the daily functions of the Shelter and Soup Kitchen.
Executive Director of Good Shepherd Center Katrina Knight describes volunteers as “the backbone of Good Shepherd,” and she’s not exaggerating. Good Shepherd operates with minimal staff, which means that up to 40 daily volunteers, not to mention one-time service groups, are critical to our operation. On September 21, 2012, NCACPA workers volunteered alongside one another throughout the Day of Service. Some opted to wake up before sunrise and prepare a hot breakfast at 6:15 am. Other NCACPA members donned waterproof aprons to wash over 150 dishes and cafeteria trays throughout the lunch meal. Afterwards, they were invited to partake in one of our home cooked specialties, such as baked salmon or pork chops and gravy.
Volunteers also branched into the Shelter to answer the door, field questions, and interact one-on-one with guests. Jennifer Jones, Marketing Senior Associate with McGladrey, signed up to volunteer alongside her coworkers at the shelter desk. Shortly after arrival, Jennifer was given a tour of the facility. She spent the rest of the morning helping out at the desk—clipping emails, constructing files, and talking with guests. She says, “it was a great experience to contribute to the work of Good Shepherd Center and see first-hand how the organization’s efforts are helping members of our community.” Thanks to our treasured volunteers such as those from McGladrey, Good Shepherd staff members are able to complete intakes, meet with guests, and work with them to find housing.
This year, Good Shepherd is inviting even more NCACPA friends back for meaningful service opportunities. Volunteers will make a difference in the lives of those we serve by sorting incoming donations, creating masterpieces in our yard, preparing and serving a hot breakfast, and detailing the vehicles that do daily grocery pickups. Each volunteer should come prepared for a tour and an adventure because we always have a good time. We can’t wait to see the many new and returning faces on Friday, September 20th because Good Shepherd loves volunteers!
Find out more about how you can participate in this year’s CPA Day of Service on September 20, 2013!
Kristin Pollock has been an advocate for the hungry and homeless in North Carolina since 2009. She is a graduate of Appalachian State University and currently works as the Volunteer Coordinator at Good Shepherd Center. She and her cat Bear enjoy life in historic Wilmington, NC.