There are weeks like this past week that I think to myself, “What would we do without our volunteers?”
Last week, Tracy and Donna took advantage of the mild autumn weather to clean out the last of the garden produce, pick apples from our apple trees, and clean out the dead plants from the vegetable gardens so they are ready for the winter.
Starting Friday evening and going through Sunday morning, Tracy and Candy helped Sr. Barb host the groups in house for the weekend, and Marge took care of the Bookstore on Saturday.
Also on Saturday, a crew of mostly guys and Jackie K. came in to help JustBob start the clean up following the logging process. The loggers are not quite finished, but hope to finish up by the end of this week. In the meantime, there was still plenty of work for Saturday’s crew. Dean and JustBob were busy with chain saws, cutting up limbs and trunks of trees that were not “mill-worthy”. Jackie K. was shuttling the cut sections to the guys manning the wood splitter just outside the Resident’s garage. Scott, Dennis, Butch, Terry R. and Jerome split and stacked the hardwood pieces under the Res deck where it can finish drying so it is ready for the fireplaces next winter and beyond. Tracy was busy hauling off the smaller branches to a gathering spot where the wood chipper could eventually turn them into mulch.
Sunday, the Beautification Team began arriving for a few days of work cleaning out the flower gardens. From Sunday through Tuesday, the crew of Kathy W., Jackie F., Carol, June, Diane, Geri, and Tracy trimmed and pulled and hauled away the remains of our summer flowers, and put away all of the garden decor and garden equipment like water cans and hoses.
Monday, the Lord’s Ladies came in to help Jain and Jackie H. clean up after the weekend. From cleaning bathrooms to dusting and vacuuming bedrooms to vacuuming the meeting spaces, Pat, Sis, Marlene, Jackie L., Theresa, Margaret, Donna and Caroline made quick work of a long list of chores that need doing after every weekend.
Our Board members, all volunteers in that capacity, also pitched in to help this week. Besides Jackie F. helping with the Beatification Team, Terri S. was in on Tuesday to make coffee for the Book Club and to help Jackie work on a grant funding report. Wednesday, it was Terry P. in to help Ron and Jackie with the financial reports, bill payments and bank deposit. At other times of the year he is here pretty regularly helping JustBob on maintenance projects as well.
Normally on Thursdays, it is the Kitchen Crew helping Kim prep food for the weekend, but with a smaller crowd this weekend, some of them were able to help us out in another very important project instead. Sis, Betty, Pat and Joanie of the Thursday Kitchen Crew were joined by Ginny, Joe and Patti to stuff and label our Annual Appeal letters so we can get them sent out to our donors. The Annual Appeal provides a big piece of our funding to keep us in the black each year despite the often uneven pace of our ministry, and our volunteers help us get the nearly 1,000 letters out in the mail. Joanie also gave Kim a hand with a few things in the kitchen and Sis and Betty gave Jackie H. a hand folding towels for housekeeping. Besides that crew, Danny was here to help Jackie H. get the rooms ready for the weekend, wrap the silverware for Kim for the weekend, and haul trash and recycling out of the old Bookstore so we can get that ready for use.
We are truly blessed to have so many volunteers willing to come and help us out. They come, some almost every week, some more than once a week, some once a year, and some whenever they can throughout the year, to help us do all that we need to do to keep this place running. No matter when they come or how often they come, they come with willing hands, smiles on their faces and love in their hearts. Yet, there is no shortage of work to do, so if you are curious why they keep coming, why not come, join them and find out why they love us and we love and appreciate them.
For the time, talent, smiles, willingness and love of all our volunteers who help us do all we do here at St. Anthony’s, we say Deo Gratias!