This past week we held our annual ‘Thank You’ luncheon to honor our volunteers.  They are the lifeblood of the Center.  Each day, we have about 25 working at the Center.  They handle guest registration and interviews, fulfilling guest’s needs, sorting clothing and housewares, managing furniture and incoming donations, clerical work and statistics gathering, replenishing supplies and hygiene items, shelving and packaging food, handling recycling and trash , making repairs and improvements –  it’s a busy place!

Not all the activity takes place at the Center. During the week, we have three drivers that spend their mornings driving the truck to handle our pickups and deliveries of furnishings. Another works on bike donations, picking them up and taking them out for repairs.  Several times a week, volunteers pick up bread and bakery items from Apple Annie’s and Atlanta Bread Company.  Seven families bring in bagged lunches they have prepared for our guests.  Once a month, we have a team that handles our large allocation of TEFAP food from the government.  Each week, we have shoppers that go out to purchase extra food from the Foodbank ;  others  buy our monthly supply of hygiene items and diapers.  Another team delivers diabetic food to homebound elders each month.  A couple volunteers help me with errands to make bank deposits, post office stops, or runs to the bus station to purchase tickets.    Fifteen teams are each assigned one day per month to do the pickups from Food Lion;  five of them handle Tuesdays,  the others have Saturday or Sunday assignments .

Other activity goes on after hours as well.  One very energetic volunteer comes in several times a week and  spends her entire afternoon sorting clothing or housewares.  Two others come in when we are closed, quietly sorting children’s clothing as they listen to music.  One comes in monthly to help with accounting. Many of the volunteers do “homework” – be it putting together layette sets,  helping with thank you notes,  updating documentation and spreadsheets, preparing the newsletters, signs and labels.  A few others come in now and again to help straighten up when we have large backlogs of donations.  Ten times a year, the Knights bring in the food from their drives.   Once a month, our Board meets.   Dozens of people work long hours on our special projects:  August repairs and improvements,   Thanksgiving, three Christmas projects,  semi-annual yard sales and yearly Quarter Auction.

Our luncheon is just a formal way to say thanks;  I hope they all know how grateful I am for them every day of the year.  They have been supportive of me since the take I took over, and there aren’t enough words for me to let them know how much I appreciate that.

Special Need of the Week – Since we close on July 31 for our summer break, we will not be able to pick up any furnishings til the first week of September; we’ll be spending the next week delivering items to our guests.