People Making a Difference
The Volunteer we are highlighting this issue has been involved in Oldsmar Cares since 2012 when she started showing her grace and compassion to all through her job as one of our Grocers. She is always interested in helping others and is the first to listen intently with sincerity to those that have problems. Her giving nature, her always wanting to give 150 percent and her kind smile shines bright into the shadows of those we help. I truly believe that this volunteer makes a difference to those with whom she comes in contact.
She diligently picks up sandwiches every week to give out at the Pantry and is ready to deliver anyone back to their home if they have a heavy load and no transportation.
She doesn't stop by volunteering every Tuesday, she also has been working with our backpack program. She is a part of the group that furnishes weekend food every Friday to elementary school children so they do not go hungry.
This lady is the dedicated Oldsmar Cares volunteer, Pat Weiskopf. Come in and ask her what a Grocer does.
The individual I want to spotlight in this issue is the woman who married me many years ago...but has never been my wife. She is the minister who married Joan and me years ago! Much more importantly, she is the Founder of Oldsmar Cares and the woman that saw a need in our community to make a difference and MET IT! She spoke with other Oldsmar ministers and started helping with a small food pantry, a clothes closet and financial support to help with rent and utilities when she could raise money.
Sharon started Oldsmar Cares in 1997 at the Methodist Church on Buckingham Ave and continued until she was transferred out of Oldsmar. Upon her retirement, she and her husband, Jim, settled back in Oldsmar to live their life.
About a year ago she called and asked if she could help in the Pantry by giving out food and do tasks when needed. That role has now expanded to Sharon becoming a Team Leader on Tuesdays.
She is helpful and kind to Volunteers and everyone who come to our door. She shows strength, humility and compassion to all. Sharon has worked and continues to work many hours beyond her Tuesdays, helping young and old alike.
Without Sharon Patch, more than likely, there would not be Oldsmar Cares. When you see her, please say "Thank You" for making a difference."
Our Volunteer to highlight in this issue has been with Oldsmar Cares since 2012. He is a friendly man with a big smile and a bigger heart. He showed up one morning just to see what Oldsmar Cares was about and stayed until closing. I asked him to come back to see me the next week. He promptly returned the next week and started volunteering every week.
He works in the Pantry, at all our special events and always wants to know how he can help more. No job is too large or too small for him. Working at the Pantry has encouraged him to focus on his own health which caused him to join a gym and lose weight. He cares for his fellow man and it show constantly as he goes about helping others. You can meet this man any Saturday morning. His name is Richard Henry and he'll always take a moment to visit or help everyone.
Go by and see him. Tell Richard Henry, "Thanks for all you do for Oldsmar Cares."
Our volunteers have been very busy this summer. One volunteer that particularly comes to mind is a gentleman that has been involved with Oldsmar Cares since its inception. For the last thirty months he has worked two mornings a week, every week, managing the pantry reception desk and greeting all who come through the door, he has a smile and a helpful attitude.
He assisted in establishing the rules and computer listings we still use today. He is an ole Navy guy who should be called Mr. Oldsmar, as he has called Oldsmar home for more than fifty years. He has played the piano for the Oldsmar Cares Gala and is always there to help out. He is an advocate for those we help and often stays late to assist clients. He truly believes in helping others and being the Good Samaritan.
This man is Ed Manny who, at 86 years old, works at the Pantry rain or shine without regard to his own aches and pains, with his attention on our clients. The next time you are in the Pantry, please tell Ed Manny, "Thanks for his dedication to helping others."
Let me tell you about just one of our many unsung volunteers that perform the many tasks required to keep this charity operating and serving over 1600 people a year.
The Clothing Closet at Oldsmar Cares receives more than 20,000 pounds of clothing every year to our offices and it is comprised of two rooms, one for adult and one for children. Anne Marie LeBlanc is the volunteer that works every Tuesday sorting, stacking, sizing, occasionally cleaning and presenting clothes to the clients that visit Oldsmar Cares.
Anne Marie inspects each piece of clothing that arrives and makes certain that the piece of clothing is ready to wear. She judges all the clothing with a simple thought. "Would I wear this myself?"
Anne Marie has lived in Oldsmar since 2003 and has been involved with Oldsmar Cares since 2007 when she read about the Boy Scout food drive and learned that Oldsmar Cares was looking for volunteers. She started working in the clothing section shortly thereafter. Anne Marie had worked in the clothing industry for 30 years prior to moving to Oldsmar, and today proves that her years in the industry certainly helps her make our clothing section an outstanding resource for our community. The next time you stop by Oldsmar Cares on a Tuesday morning, please peek in the Clothes Closet and say "Hi" and maybe a "Thank You" to Anne Marie!
Two years ago this month when Oldsmar Cares decided to relocate, there was a lot to consider before making the move. Oldsmar Cares has a volunteer that has been devoted to working for Oldsmar Cares since 2007 when we had a small food pantry and Clothing Closet. When she heard that we were moving to SR 580 and would have a whole house to use for our charity, she was the first to step up and commit to not one, but two mornings a week. Little did she or anyone else know that two years later she would spend 4 to 6 days a week at the Oldsmar Cares Pantry.
In addition to helping with food, clothing and toy distributions, she took on the responsibility of assessing and paying the rent and utility payments given out to those in need. For her that wasn't enough. She stepped into the shoes of bookkeeper, food buyer and when needed, she drives around the city picking up donated food from our many food sites.
She was asked to join the Oldsmar Cares Board of Directors in 2013 and continues to be one of the hardest working Oldsmar Cares volunteers. Sheila Manny is this volunteer! She works tirelessly for Oldsmar Cares. The next time you stop by Oldsmar Cares--pretty much any day of the week--please take a minute and say "Hi" and maybe a "Thank You" to Sheila Manny!
by David Wallace, Board Member, Volunteer Coordinator
Our volunteers have been very busy this last month with our Post Office Food Drive where over 75 volunteers worked in the heat of the day to receive, sort and stock more than 10,000 pounds of food in one day. Then, came the Oldsmar Freedom Festival where a dozen of our volunteers worked together for 3 days to sell raffle tickets to raise money for the Oldsmar Cares food pantry.
One particular volunteer who shines in the sun, is a woman that has lived and worked in Oldsmar for more than 25 years. She’s raised her family here and works diligently to help others in her neighborhood, in her community and all who come to Oldsmar Cares.
She started volunteering for Oldsmar Cares in 2009 and helped to relocate our office in 2012, then started regularly volunteering every week in our Pantry. When I mentioned we should start opening at night each week, she asked to help create and organize the night opening. We opened on that first Wednesday night with her as team leader and a staff of three, and have been open every Wednesday night 5:30 to 7 ever since. Through her tireless efforts, Oldsmar Cares added a time slot that helped others receive aid from us.
Yes, yes, Dana Barrow is this volunteer! She and her husband Mike are just simply great. They believe in helping anyone and everyone in need. While volunteering at Freedom Fest recently, Dana helped vendors whose tents were damaged by the thunderstorm, she helped pack in the rain those people's goods that couldn't stay, she gave dry shirts and comfort to those that were soaked by the storm and she gave compassion and support to all that needed it. I asked Dana why she volunteers, she said, "There was a time when we had little and needed help and I still remember what it felt like."
Dana is involved in our fundraising and this year will head the auction sub-committee for the 5th Annual Oldsmar Cares Wine & Food Gala. The next time you’re in the area on a Wednesday evening, please stop by Oldsmar Cares and say "Hi" and maybe a "Thank You" to Dana Barrow!
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