Good Shephard Mission

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As students begin to look toward giving thanks and Christmas presents, another thing students can give is volunteer time at The Good Shepherd Mission.”On an ongoing basis, we’re always needing help,” Rev. Dave Smith, director, said. “We need help with people providing food drives, coat drives and blanket drives and things like that. We have a pretty good supply of volunteers helping in the food drive right now, but that’s always ongoing.”One of the things we need is this Saturday, Nov. 3, we need people to come out and help finish up the remodeling and just do some of the overhauling and spruce things up,” he said. “It’s also just different projects that need to be donethe brush is overgrown in a lot of areas and just things like that.”Volunteers are also needed because of the upcoming holidays for a variety of reasons, and because of the high crime rate and high family abuse during that time, Smith said.”It happens every year; it gets busier from August through January,” he said. “We tend to get families around holidays because people travelingtheir cars break down. Families tend to split up on holidays. The SAAFE House fills up, and we get the overflow”The mission also does holiday-oriented things, such as giving out turkeys, hams and “turkey bucks” around Thanksgiving and holding a toy drive with Santa’s Helpers, Smith said.”Wiesners does a bike-fix-up thing. GM jumped on this year and gave them some money to help with that,” he said. “Last year we gave out about 130 bicycles, and the year before that about 150. We serve about 400 households at Christmasjust toys to Walker County.”Volunteers can also help out by working in the office, by answering phones or cleaning up the files, or by collecting items to make packets for the men, women and children that lodge there.”They can put together packets for kids that are stuck here or families that have kids,” Smith said. “(The kids) need little packets of things to do, like puzzles or coloring books or putty.”The mission provides a variety of services for Walker County residents, as well as transients, or people who are passing through, such as overnight lodging, traveler’s aid, work assistance, counseling and giving clothing to those in need. “The Good Shepherd Mission is a place that provides hope for those in need,” Smith said. “We are a multi-faceted charity with areas of service that basically center around basic human needs.”Smith also said meals are not limited to the under-privileged.”Anybody can come in and eat,” he said. “You can just be a poor, old student that has run out of moneythe check hasn’t come in from mom and dad or the Pell Grantand you can come on in and eat.”They serve two meals a day, at noon and 6 p.m., have two thrift stores, and lodging that has been averaging well over 300 bed uses per night. Sunday meals are served at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., according to Smith. “We just need the university to realize that most of the people (volunteering) are coming and goingthey’re only here for a few years and then they’re gone,” Smith said. “While they’re here, they could be of great service to all of the community organizations that need help, whether it’s the nursing homes, the senior center, the SAAFE House, The Good Shepherd Mission or the Rita B. Huff (Animal Shelter). We all need volunteersit’s the only way we can make it.”To volunteer, “basically just come in,” Smith said. “A lot of people say ‘Contact me when you need help,’ but we don’t have time to do that, and we’re always needing help.”The Good Shepherd Mission is located at 1005 Ave. F, also known as Martin Luther King Drive, and students can volunteer until 9:30 p.m., when “we lock the doors,” Smith said.For more information, call 291-8156 or visit the Web site www.walkercountyonline.com/org/mission.