Friday, December 16, 2011
Representatives of lake-based charitable organizations tell why they need you
The nonprofits rely on donations to provide services to area families and animals.
File | Laker Weekly
Volunteers at Lake Christian Ministries sort canned foods for distribution to clients.
Courtesy of Sue Lipscomb
The AGAPE Center offers assistance to low-income families, including food, clothing and Christ-centered mentoring.
FILE 2010 | Laker Weekly
Jennifer Everidge of Rocky Mount holds two kittens that were up for adoption at an event last year sponsored by Barn Cat Buddies and Angels of Assisi.
FILE 2007 | Laker Weekly
Pat Muncy, president of Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue, has been caring for abused and neglected horses at her farm for nine years.
FILE 2009 | Laker Weekly
About 200 volunteers assist during summer enrichment camps offered by SML Good Neighbors; one duty is to serve as reading buddies for the children.
“What can I do to repay you?” I asked the young professional who had spent hours repairing my home computer. He would take no payment, but I kept insisting that wasn’t right.
Finally he said, “My mom needs help. If you could give her a few hours at the Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue that would be payment enough.”
At the time I had a full-time office job and was a live-in caregiver for my mother, but I promised him I would do so as soon as I could.
Two years later, my mother had died, I had remarried, retired and was just out of surgery. Not sure about myself at the time, I knew one thing: It was time to make good on my promise.
So off I went to repay a kindness and a year and a half later I find I’m the one being rewarded. Now I’m no horse whisperer, but I’ve come to understand that a horse truly feels your pain all the while trusting you with his.
Our mission at Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue, Inc. is to promote the prevention of equine abuse.
It’s mind blowing to learn that people will dump their horses on the side of the road just as they will a dog or cat. Or, they will just leave their horses behind when they move away. Some will torture their horses for mere sport until they are reported to Animal Control. It’s sickening.
Owners who can no longer afford them, but love these wonderful creatures as we do, will ask if we can help. We are here to rehabilitate these horses and place them in loving homes.
But we are really up against it right now. For the first time in our nine-year history, we are turning horses away because we are at full capacity. Perfectly healthy, rideable horses will join the 47,000 slaughtered to date in the United States because in this economy people cannot afford to keep them, and our own adoption rates have halted for the same reason.
We desperately need help especially with winter coming. These animals feel, sense, know, communicate and want to enjoy living just as much as we do. After all, they have loved and served us for centuries.
When you give this Christmas season, please consider us as we work to save lives. We will be forever grateful as will our equine friends. Thank you in advance for your compassion and caring.
You may contact us at email@example.com or mail to P.O. Box 13, Hardy, VA 24101. Visit rvhr.com and feel free to schedule a visit. We’d love to meet you and introduce you to these truly amazing and beautiful creatures.
-- Bonnie Smiley Wells
Lake Christian Ministries
It’s early Thanksgiving morning and a volunteer from Lake Christian Ministries Warehouse Coordinator, is preparing to go to the local Food Lion to pick up their weekly donation. On Friday, he’ll pick up over 300 pounds of venison from a local processing plant, a donation from Hunters for the Hungry.
Everyone familiar with LCM is aware of the teams of volunteers, at the front desk, the clothing and household goods department, the financial aid department, the warehouse and the half dozen pantry workers who pick food orders for clients the three days that LCM is open.
Less visible but vitally important are the 25-30 or so LCM pantry volunteers who work behind the scenes, seven days a week, picking up food from one or more of five local grocery stores and the Feeding America Southwest Virginia Food Bank, bringing the food to LCM and stocking it on the shelves or in various scarce storage areas.
They handle an estimated 10,000 pounds of food per month! This year, LCM will spend over $100, 000 purchasing food to add to that which is donated. Each week we pick up food purchased from Shoprite.
Second Wednesday of the month, volunteers begin loading the remote pantry truck to go to Penhook on Thursday. Some 85-90 households will receive food on Thursday. Twelve to 15 volunteers, mostly from local churches, man the operation.
The fourth Friday of the month, volunteers load the mobile pantry truck to go to Three Oaks Fellowship United Methodist Church where on the following Saturday 25-30 client households are given food. The pantry is operated by 6-8 volunteers, some from LCM and some from the local church.
Once each month, food donations are given to clients at the Central Virginia Area Agency on Aging.
Over 1,600 pounds of fresh vegetables and produce are donated from the community garden operated by the SML Rotary Club and the SML Master Gardeners.
There is also a team of over 12-15 volunteers who restock the pantry shelves on the days that LCM is closed.
We have an amazing number of individuals, churches, civic organizations and businesses that make personal donations of food or money on a monthly basis. There is activity seven days a week at LCM in order to provide food to 585 of the over 1,900 client households that depend on receiving 10-plus meals from LCM each month to supplement their budgets.
The unseen hands of volunteers make that possible. We are blessed to have each and every one of them.
Lake Christian Ministries, P.O. Box 695, Moneta, VA 24121
-- Mike Bond
SML Good Neighbors
SML Good Neighbors, Inc. is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that works with children who are rising 1st through 6th graders from six elementary schools in Bedford and Franklin counties. The children are from families with limited resources.
We provide summer enrichment programs at no cost to families. Children attend day camps lasting four weeks from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., five days per week. Carefully selected college interns are the primary facilitators.
The curriculum focuses on reading, writing and enhancement of communication skills. Additionally, daily enrichment programs provide: Nature Education, Peace Education, Cultural Diversity and Global Education. And — the children receive nutritious breakfasts, lunches and snacks.
In addition to the four-week enrichment camps, Good Neighbors provides sack lunches to summer school students in three Bedford County schools, and weekend backpacks to summer school students in three Franklin and three Bedford county schools. Backpacks contain food for the weekend plus a new book. Children in the day camps also receive weekend backpacks.
And, Good Neighbors provides volunteer mentors in two elementary schools during the school year.
The children served by the Good Neighbors programs are students at Dudley, Burnt Chimney and Windy Gap elementary schools in Franklin County. In Bedford County the schools are Moneta, Body Camp and Huddleston elementary.
In 2011, 161 children attended the enrichment day camps and 240 children in summer school programs were served. The Day Camp enrollment increased from 65 in 2008 to 161 in 2011. Although the number of children served is large, there are many more children in these schools who would benefit from the Good Neighbors program. Currently, there are over 700 children qualified for the free or reduced-cost meal program in the six schools served by Good Neighbors.
These programs require the work of nearly 200 volunteers as well as eight carefully chosen college interns. Stories from children, their families, volunteers, interns, teachers and principals testify to the ways children’s lives are enriched and their behaviors influenced in positive ways by our programs. And, the data we collect clearly shows that our enrichment programs are having a positive impact on reading levels.
Sustaining these programs requires large numbers of volunteers and significant financial resources. Financial support comes from contributions and small grants. We always welcome more volunteers and additional donors to help us continue these programs.
One of our goals for 2012 is to identify individuals or companies who want to become Sustaining Partners — pledging $1,000 or more each year for a period of five years. The children are our future — there is no better place to invest our time and financial resources.
Contact us at 721-2581 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And check our website at: smlgoodneighbors.org to learn more about us. We always welcome opportunities to speak to groups, large and small, about the Good Neighbors programs and the children we serve.
-- Russ Baskett
The AGAPE Center
Who would have thought that the lake would need another large ministry of benevolence? This question would have especially been relevant in 2004 when the economy was booming, housing prices were rising and SML was a thriving community.
God saw the need long before the economy went bad. He knew there was a need for a ministry that would teach people “to fish for themselves.” A ministry that would offer assistance to those who are struggling but also mentor them and help them discover root causes and solutions to their families problems.
The AGAPE Center in Moneta was first started by a group of committed Christians who felt the need to offer more than just food and clothing but also the grace of God through strong mentoring leadership. They firmly believed that in order to offer complete help they must share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the hurting.
Currently under the leadership of Director Sue Lipscomb, the AGAPE Center has a monthly clientele of more than 1,100 individuals. In the past three years the number of families that are served at the AGAPE Center has nearly doubled. In October 2011 it served more than 375 families.
A person looking for assistance who comes to the AGAPE Center will be greeted with a warm smile by one of the 125 volunteers. After joining the Center they will meet monthly with their own personal mentor who develops a relationship with them, prays with them and gives encouragement and spiritual admonition. After meeting with their mentor, they are allowed to “shop” for those things that they are in need of. The AGAPE Center provides utility assistance, food, clothing, furniture, appliances, linens and firewood and much more.
The motivation of seeing lives lifted keeps the team at the AGAPE Center moving forward. Stories like the lady who after visiting the Center, continued to make choices that caused her to end up in prison. While in prison she remembered what she had heard and felt at the Center and cried out to God. Since her release she has not only made contact with her mentor but God is also helping restore her family.
The holidays are especially challenging for families, which puts an added demand on the AGAPE Center. They are currently in need of volunteers to work in their food pantry, the store, people who are willing to mentor others and of course funds to meet the increasing demands of the holidays. All gifts to the AGAPE Center are tax deductible: P.O. Box 571, Moneta, VA 24121.
You may visit the AGAPE Center at 12361 N. Old Moneta Road, 296-0609 or online at agapecentersml.org.
-- Sue Lipscomb
Barn Cat Buddies
If Barn Cat Buddies had a credo, it would have to be: “There is purpose for every animal … and for every animal there is a purpose.”
I had never intended to continue my work in rescue when I moved to Franklin County in June of 2005. When I made a vow to my husband that moving to Virginia would not see a return to the rescue/spay-neuter work begun in 1993, I really, really meant it.
But divine intervention threw me back into the mix when a terminally ill friend asked for help re-homing her cat. Surfing the net I was drawn to a place called Angels of Assisi.
I emailed Assisi at the time and got an email back saying they’d take my friend’s kitty. While I didn’t even know where Roanoke was, Angels of Assisi suddenly felt like “home.” Soon I was writing bios for their adoptable animals and eventually became a board member.
Around the same time I met Tammy Javier who worked for Planned Pethood, another group I greatly admired. We forged a quick friendship based on a mutual belief that sterilizations save lives and feral cats had a right to live.
Tammy told me about Barn Cat Babies, the program she created to help feral cats find placement at barns and escape euthanasia at the pound. Her idea was brilliant and it inspired me.
So when Tammy’s job gave her little time to devote to the program, I asked if she’d like me to take it over. Tammy agreed and after tweaking the name to Barn Cat Buddies, we were off and running. After researching successful relocation methods, the Barn Cat Buddies Protocol was adopted and the first farm in Burnt Chimney stepped up to take several homeless cats from Bridgewater Marina.
Finding appropriate barn cat homes has been the biggest challenge for us with funding for sterilizations running a close second. Our hot line and email boxes are filled daily with requests for help but with limited facilities and limited funds, sadly, we cannot help them all.
Barn Cat Buddies has re-homed 465 cats since 2007 with the bulk of those placed in non-traditional homes such as over barns, apple orchards, marinas and greenhouses. The remaining were friendly felines placed in indoor homes.
No organization can do it alone. And because of our partnership with no-kill organizations like The Humane Society of Franklin County and Angels of Assisi, we have made strides in helping so many homeless and abandoned animals.
As a community, we need to wake up and take responsibility as well. Alter your pets and when it’s time to adopt a new friend, visit the Franklin County pound.
As the desire for GREEN SOLUTIONS continues to grow in our world, so then will the popularity of programs like Barn Cat Buddies. When you combine common sense with saving animal lives, people want to get behind it.
-- Diane Novak