How a Chesterfield organization is doing all it can to help seniors help seniors

Susan McCammon, Executive Director 

Pam Crandol, President of Board and long-time volunteer

How a Chesterfield organization is doing all it can to help seniors help seniors

  • Leah Shepard Richmond Times Dispatch
  • Jun 18, 2024

 

Susan McCammon serves as executive director of the Shepherd’s Center in Chesterfield County. The nonprofit, which is dedicated to “opening doors for older adults,” provides volunteer opportunities for seniors to help seniors.

For seniors in crisis, a Chesterfield County organization has found an army of volunteers to come to their aid: other seniors.

Since 2001, the Shepherd’s Center has worked to provide seniors with volunteer opportunities to help other seniors in their communities.

Pamela Crandol, a full-time volunteer, remembers opening up the organization’s mail one day. “You are my last hope,” a letter began.

The author was a single senior woman in Chesterfield with no family who had just been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. She had no one to drive her to chemotherapy.

“She was living in an apartment,” Crandol said. “And she said by the time she paid her rent and phone payment, she had, I think, 11 dollars left for food for the month.”

After getting in touch with the woman, Crandol said the center connected her with one of its volunteers who chauffeurs clients who can’t drive themselves.

When the woman suffered a life-threatening injury at home, it was the same volunteer from the center who alerted authorities and saved her life.

Pam Crandol, a full-time volunteer with the Shepherd’s Center, said: “There isn’t a day that I volunteer that I don’t get more out of it than the person that I’m there for.”

To volunteers at the Shepherd’s Center, this story is just one example of a good deed. Sometimes, it’s as serious as getting medical care. Sometimes, it’s just to make sure seniors are not alone and have human contact.

For 23 years, the Shepherd’s Center has provided services to more than 700 seniors in the Richmond area through its transportation service, HandyHands program and Adventures in Learning classes.

The center offers classes in watercolor painting, world politics, foreign languages, financial planning, woodcarving, tai chi and more. HandyHands sends volunteers to help seniors with minor home repairs.

Susan McCammon, executive director of the Shepherd’s Center, said the idea for the nonprofit was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1972, when Methodist pastor Elbert Cole noted the lack of opportunities afforded to seniors in his community.

“He found a disconnect between the older and the younger congregation,” McCammon said. “So he told the older generation ‘stop feeling sorry for yourself. You can help each other. You have a lot of life to live.’”

Now, there are over 56 Shepherd’s Centers around the country, operating in 17 states. The Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield is one of them.

The organization has only 48 volunteer drivers with an average age of 70 to serve the Chesterfield community, Crandol said, and the need is growing.

“Older drivers are more on a fixed income these days, because they’re living on retirement or Social Security. That makes it more difficult,” Crandol said. “And so you’re thinking about that as an issue too for people.”

McCammon said inflation and lasting effects of COVID-19 are still impacting clients and volunteers.

“After COVID, it was devastating for them,” McCammon said. “Being stuck at home, and it’s really kicked us.”

She recalled a couple the organization helped a few years ago — a man who was disabled and unable to walk and his wife who had Stage 4 cancer. They lived in a divided trailer and signed up for their transportation service to receive medical treatment.

“Then, it turned out the husband ended up getting Stage 4 cancer, too,” McCammon said. “His wife passed, and then he passed. But they were just so grateful that there was somebody there. They had nobody.”

Another man they helped, she said, had an electrical issue with an outlet in his home that would keep him up at night. When one of the Shepherd Center’s volunteers came to fix it, he saw the man was a double amputee.

“He said he had a fear in him … every night that he would just burn up and perish in his trailer because he wouldn’t have time to put his prosthetics on,” McCammon said.

The organization relies on small grants, donations and fundraisers to keep its services available. It employs only two part-time staff — the rest are volunteers.

“There’s more need out there than we can possibly handle without more volunteers,” McCammon said. “We’re very limited.”

One of the organization’s biggest fundraisers is its Afternoon Tea Party Fundraiser that it has held annually for 13 years.

Pam Crandol, a volunteer at the Shepherd’s Center, connected one of the center’s drivers with a woman who had Stage 4 cancer and couldn’t get to treatment on her own.

Crandol said that although she gives up her time to volunteering, she gains more than she loses.

“There isn’t a day that I volunteer that I don’t get more out of it than the person that I’m there for,” Crandol said.

“People should know that there are so many people out there that need to have something given to them, and they should be willing to do that. There are so many seniors out there that need something because seniors are a forgotten population. They really need us to help.”

Leah Shepard (804) 649-6254

leah.shepard@timesdispatch.com

 

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Begin or renew your membership today and support our critical mission.

Membership:

  • Individual membership is only $25, and Couple memberships are only $40
  • Your membership is effective July 1 through June 30 of the following year
  • You can pay for your membership anytime starting July 1

(Please note: we do not offer reduced or pro-rated dues if you join after July 1)

Membership has benefits such as:

  • Knowing you are supporting our critical mission
  • Reduced Adventures In Learning’s tuition

How do you become a member?

  • You can become a member and pay online.
  • Or you can become a member and pay by check:
  • Please pay, make your check payable to The Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield, PO Drawer 170, 6800 Lucy Corr Blvd., Chesterfield, VA 23832

Another SOLD Out fundraiser!

 

The Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield is thrilled to announce the resounding success of the 13th Annual Afternoon Tea Party Fundraiser!

Chesterfield, VA – May 13, 2024 – The Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield is thrilled to announce the resounding success of the 13th Annual Afternoon Tea Party Fundraiser, held on Saturday, May 11, at the exquisite Chester Baptist’s Great Hall surrounded by beautiful artwork from the Shepherd’s Center’s Adventures in Learning Acrylic Painting Class taught by Mrs. Tonya Mahaffey.
 

This year’s event was sold out, attracting diverse guests eager to partake in an afternoon of elegance and community spirit. Attendees were greeted by a sea of stylish hats, setting the tone for an unforgettable gathering.

The Great Hall was transformed into a haven of delight, adorned with exquisite decor that complemented the gentle clink of teacups and the enticing aroma of freshly brewed tea. Guests were enveloped in camaraderie as they indulged in traditional tea and an array of delicious treats that tickled their taste buds and warmed their hearts.

More than 140 attendees reveled in the splendors of the event, coming together to support The Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield’s invaluable mission. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards uplifting and serving adults over 60 in Chesterfield and neighboring communities. From critical medical transportation to for their beloved pets’ veterinary visits, the Shepherd’s Center provides essential services that enrich the lives of countless individuals.

The success of this year’s Afternoon Tea Party would not have been possible without the generous support of our esteemed sponsors. We extend our deepest gratitude to River City Loves Kindness, Inc., Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service, and our Bronze Table Sponsors, as well as our valued partners Chester Baptist Church, Lucy Corr, Manchester Cleaners-Chester, and Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service.

The event was further enriched by the presence of distinguished community members, including Mr. Donald Raybould, a beloved board member of the Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield Board of Trustees. With his captivating insight about aging and Celtic charm, Donald added an air of merriment and entertainment that resonated throughout the room. Additionally, guests were treated to mesmerizing saxophone melodies courtesy of Mr. Michael Anderson and stunning artwork from our very own talented students.

The 13th Annual Afternoon Tea Party was a testament to the power of community and compassion. As we continue our mission of making lives brighter, one beautiful moment at a time, we invite you to stay tuned for more unforgettable events in the future. Together, we can create a brighter future for all.

Photos courtesy of Curtis Anderson Photography.

Sold out!!
St. Patrick's Charity Auction Fundraiser!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield’s St. Patrick’s Day Charity Auction Fundraiser Deemed a Resounding Success!

Chesterfield, VA: The Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield proudly announces the triumphant outcome of its St. Patrick’s Day Charity Auction Fundraiser. The event saw an overwhelming response from the community, with over 150 attendees. Executive Director Mrs. Susan McCammon expressed her gratitude for the tremendous support received, highlighting the event’s sold-out status and the enthusiastic participation of patrons and sponsors alike.

It was held at the picturesque Meadowbrook Country Club on Saturday, March 9. The evening was an extraordinary blend of philanthropy, entertainment, and camaraderie. Mrs. Margaret Edie, President of Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield’s Board of Trustees, was the evening’s emcee. Renowned auctioneer Mrs. Wendy Grimm, President of the Auctioneer Association of Virginia, gave her expertise to the proceedings, ensuring a dynamic and engaging auction experience for all. Guests were serenaded by the soulful melodies of saxophonist Michael Redman, adding an elegant touch to the event’s ambiance. The generosity of Gold Sponsors, Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service, Virginia Energy & Lighting (VEL), and Markham Burial Vault Service, among others, played a pivotal role in the event’s success. Silver Sponsors such as The Art Factory & Party Place, C3 Heating & Air, Davis Auto Sales, Life Celebration, Home Health & Recovery Companion-Olga Sorrells-PCA, Warfield-Rohr Casket Co., Inc. and Exclusive Wine Pull Sponsor, Wyzisk Pro Services, Bronze Sponsors: The Mast Family and TruBlue of Midlothian Home Service Ally and also contributed significantly to the cause. The Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield extends heartfelt appreciation to its passionate volunteers, the organization’s lifeblood. Their unwavering dedication, expertise, and generosity empower the Center to provide vital services and programs to seniors in Chesterfield County and neighboring communities. From free accompanied transportation to HandyHands home repairs and Adventures in Learning mini-college courses, volunteers ensure seniors remain active, safe, healthy, and engaged in their golden years while in their homes.

Funds raised during the event will directly support these critical services, enabling the Shepherd’s Center to continue its mission of enhancing the lives of seniors in the community. Individuals are interested in volunteering or accessing services are encouraged to contact the Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield at (804) 706-6689 or visit www.shepcenter.org.

Join us at the Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield in celebrating the spirit of compassion and community. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on upcoming events and opportunities to get involved.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Susan McCammon

Executive Director

The Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield

P.O. Drawer 170

6800 Lucy Corr Blvd.

Chesterfield, VA  23832

804-706-9198

About the Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield:

The Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting seniors in Chesterfield County and surrounding areas. Through a network of passionate volunteers, the Center provides essential services and programs designed to promote independence, health, and well-being among seniors in the community. For more information, visit www.shepcenter.org.

Photos courtesy of Brian Wotring  Photography.

In Memory of Mr. Eldridge Brock

Eldridge was not just a valued member of our organization; he was one of the visionaries who played a pivotal role in founding the Shepherd’s Center in 1999. His passion, persistent dedication, and unwavering commitment have left an indelible mark on our community and organization.

Eldridge’s contributions were not limited to his role as a founding member. Throughout the years, he served on numerous committees, consistently providing steadfast support and leadership to our organization for over 25 years. These committees included:

  • Board of Trustees (Past and Current) & Founding  Member
  • Charity Auction Volunteer
  • Applebee’s Breakfast Fundraiser Volunteer
  • Senior Idol Volunteer
  • Tea Party Volunteer
  • Bulk Mailing Committee Member
  • Executive Committee Member
  • Finance Member
  • Fundraising Task Force Member
  • Board of Trustees Member filling Mrs. Beckie Brock’s his wife board position upon her passing.
  • CCRC Member
  • Volunteer Driver
  • Finance Co-Chair
  • Treasurer Chair

Eldridge’s absence will undoubtedly leave a significant gap in our organization that will be challenging to fill. Eldridge’s life and legacy let us also reflect on his tremendous impact on us and the Shepherd’s Center. His unwavering dedication for over 25 years has shaped our organization’s success and growth.

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Focus your camera on the QR code below to scan to purchase tickets and sponsorships and make financial donations to the Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield. Please note what the payment will be going toward:

 

“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.”​


The Shepherd's Center of Chesterfield is actively seeking fun and caring volunteers!

When you shop at Kroger, a small donation will be made to the Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield. When you register,  use the NPO number: XG316 so that the Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield will receive a donation from your purchases. Visit the Kroger Rewards Program site now.

CARINGCENT

When you sign up to have your debit or credit card linked to this program so any purchases made on that card will be rounded up to the nearest dollar with the change donated to the Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield. Visit CaringCent site now.

CARS PROGRAM

Donate any unwanted vehicle to C.A.R.S. Choose the Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield as your Non-Profit. The Vehicle will be picked up at no cost to you and you will receive a statement for your taxes once the vehicle has been sold. Proceeds from the sale of the vehicle will benefit the Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield. Visit the C.A.R.S. site now.

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