NBC12 - ‘It’s an amazing mission’
By Jasmine Turner | January 8, 2019 at 5:39 PM EST - Updated January 8 at 6:31 PM
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - For almost 20 years, volunteers with the Shepherd's Center in Chesterfield have worked to ensure adults 60 and older can safely get to medical appointments, the pharmacy, grocery store and other locations in Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Chester and Hopewell.
"They're getting to stay home longer because we are helping them remain independent," said Pam Crandol, who has been volunteering since 2004. "If they didn't get to the doctors to see their physicians, they would end up on the hospital or nursing facility."
This year the organization is facing the challenge of losing volunteers. Executive Director Susan McCammon says some drivers are retiring from volunteering, and others are not able to return to driving due to medical issues.
"If someone can spare a couple hours or week, it's just an amazing mission - and the generation we're serving now is the Greatest Generation. They are so amazing and grateful," McCammon said.
The 83 drivers they once had, has dropped to about 60. The organizations serve more than 600 people, ages 60 and over. So it is becoming a challenge to ensure transportation for all enrolled in the program.
"We try to get everybody's availability and layer it, and keep the bathtub full of drivers based on their availability. When one of that shifts and something happens to that critical mass, you need help, and we need help," she said.
McCammon said in 2018, drivers logged more than 40,000 miles in their own cars, using their own money to pay for gas.
"It's a mission from the heart," said McCammon.
The organization also provides a minor home repair service called, "HandyHands." In 2018, they made 112 minor home repair visits to help those on fixed incomes and living in their own homes. The Shepherd's Center was also able to offer 75 educational classes resulting in 384 low-cost class registrations and provided 1,400 low cost lunches to those attending the Luncheon Forum.
Pam Crandol began volunteering with the organization while still working as an educator with Chesterfield County Public Schools. After she retired, she started volunteering close to full-time, working as a driver, as well as helping with the organization's Adventures in Learning program. The program allows other seniors to continue to engage their minds and stay active in their communities.
"People are so happy to see us. Because they're home so much, they don't get out," said Crandol. "They're so happy to see a face, so happy to see someone that's glad to take them somewhere and do something for them, it makes their day."
Maggie Twilley is one of the people who says her day is made when someone arrives to pick her up. She was among the founding board, and though she doesn't volunteer to drive, through the years she has volunteered with other programs in the organization.
"The more drivers they have, the more people they can help. It's deeply appreciated," said Twilley.
If you are interested in volunteering, call (804) 706-6689 and talk with the staff about the opportunities.
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2019 Charity Auction Fundraiser Scheduled
The Charity Auction Fundraiser will be held on
Thursday, March 28, 2019 from 6:30-9:00 p.m.
at the Reserve at The Highlands 8136 Highland Glen Drive Chesterfield, VA 23838
Plan to attend now.
Sponsorships are available on our Store Page or by calling the office at 804-706-9198.
The Shepherd's Center of Chesterfield is actively seeking fun and caring volunteers!
The Shepherd's Center of Chesterfield is actively seeking fun and caring volunteers to serve on our Hospitality Committee. We need volunteers to help with prepping pantries and coffee to serve in the mornings and helping with lunch in the afternoon on Wednesdays for 8 weeks starting in January 2019 during our lifelong learning class sessions (Adventures In Learning) in Chester. No experience is necessary.
There are two shifts available depending on your preference:
- Arrive at 7:30 am to help set up for classes for our seniors by sitting up tables and chairs for the day.
- Arrive by 12:30 pm to help with cleaning, sweeping, mopping and taking out the trash.
The Shepherd's Center of Chesterfield, Virginia is a local non-profit, inter-faith organization of volunteers who donate their time; talents and passion to help senior adults in our very own community remain independent in their own homes. We were established by our community in August 2001 with the following mission: "To enrich the lives of adults 60 and over by offering opportunities for inter-faith community service, lifelong learning, and assistance in maintaining an independent lifestyle." Simply put: "We are volunteers that help seniors continue to live healthy, safe, vibrant and independent lives in their own homes for as long as possible".
Volunteers are the backbone and heart of our organization.
Last year, the volunteers for the Shepherd's Center of Chesterfield carry out the mission of the Center by providing: 1884 free accompanied rides to critical medical appointments and grocery shopping with over 648 senior adults enrolled into our services. Shepherd's Center volunteers made 112 minor home repair visits to help those on fixed incomes and living in their own homes. The Center offered 75 educational classes resulting in 384 low-cost class registrations and provided 1,440 lunches to those attending our Luncheon Forum.
The Shepherd's Center of Chesterfield enriches the lives of adults 60 and over by offering opportunities for interfaith community service, lifelong learning and assistance in maintaining an independent lifestyle. It offers classes instructed by volunteers who have a passion in their subject, free accompanied transportation to critical doctors' offices and pharmaceutical pick-ups, and participation in social events and friendship. All of these critical services are provided by their compassionate volunteers. For more information about the Center or volunteer opportunities, please call 804-706-6689 or complete a Volunteer Information Form.