Going the Extra Mile
Every year we have the opportunity to recognize an individual and a group volunteer of the year. We are incredibly honored to introduce you to our 2019 volunteers of the year!
Judy has an unusual connection with the Family House. When her brother became ill in Statesville, NC, and needed to spend time at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Judy traveled from her home in West Virginia to support him. She checked in as a guest at the Family House and quickly became a Family House supporter and ambassador.
Judy’s brother’s health improved, and Judy decided to relocate to North Carolina. She didn’t wait long before she began to volunteer at the Family House. Judy wanted to give back to the place that had been a godsend to her, and she wanted help others. As Judy sweeps the floors, organizes the kitchen, and folds clothes, she also has a beautiful way of talking with and listening to guests.
Judy stands out by the way she forms deep, lasting connections with guests to help them ease their emotional pain. She gets to know people, asks them how they are doing, and follows up with them to get updates. Judy truly goes the extra mile, not only doing the not-so-fun but necessary chores around the house but doing them with a heartfelt love that is almost hard to describe. Guests know that she cares. They know that she will be ready with a hug, a smile, or a shoulder to cry on.
Judy wants to help families feel what she felt when she stayed as a guest. It is a passion of hers to help families know that the Family House is a safe house. The only way the Family House can offer its services at such a low cost is because of volunteers like Judy. The only way the Family House is more than just a place to stay is because of volunteers like Judy. Her service improves overall guest satisfaction and emotional well-being.
Merry Meal Volunteers
On the first 1st and 3rd Monday of every month, Family House dinners consist of volunteer-led potlucks, which we call Merry Meals. On these days, volunteers lovingly make their dishes at home and bring them in to contribute to the dinner for the evening.
These potluck meals take coordination and dedication to happen twice a month. Thanks to a core group of committed Merry Meal volunteers, our Family House staff members can rest assured that these potlucks will happen without a hitch, and guests can count on having a delicious meal to start the week.
Weeks in advance, one of our two volunteer leaders coordinate the menu and create online sign-up lists. They then send it out via email to recruit sign-ups. On Merry Meal Mondays, this group of volunteers will gather up the food dropped off by 8-20 different volunteers, organize and heat up the dishes, serve the dinner, and clean up afterward. From start to finish, these volunteers carry out these efforts so efficiently that the meals go seamlessly week after week.
While the core group of Merry Meal helpers is 16 regularly contributing individuals, they make it possible for over 110 unique individuals to be able to participate. They make it possible for one person to combine with several others to make a big difference, and that’s incredible.
These volunteers carry out their duties with amazing love and hospitality. They welcome new volunteers who want to be involved, and they interact with our guests in ways that make them feel at ease. These volunteers listen to guests’ stories, and they remind them that they are not alone.