Our programs are only as good as our volunteers, and the compassionate care GRACE provides to over 5,000 family members each year is only made possible by the talented, selfless, and generous volunteers from our community.  So, of course, any chance we get to celebrate our treasured volunteers we get super EGG-cited!

We channeled our inner Easter Bunny spirit animal this week, and handed out goody-filled Easter eggs to our EGG-ceptional volunteers.  Most eggs were filled with sweet candy treats while a few select, EGGS-clusive eggs were filled with prize-winning gold coins!  The lucky golden coin recipients were given gift cards.  Plus, all throughout the week our various GRACE sights celebrated with pizza parties, donuts, brownies and many other treats to show their appreciation.

Here at GRACE, we are in awe and humbled by the outpouring of countless hours, hard work, resources, and love from the EGGS-traordinary people who serve.  We are fully aware that we owe everything to our gracious volunteers and donors – our family – who donate their valuable, EGGS-tracurricular time.  Approximately 52,665 volunteer hours were worked in 2018, which means if each volunteer combined their hours of service, someone would be serving at GRACE 24 hours a day for over six years!

Pictured left to right: Client Services Intern Elizabeth Monaco, Client Services Intern Emily Hilker, Bilingual Caseworker Wyatt Ince, Intake Coordinator Vicki Yarnell, and Bilingual Caseworker Herman Vargas

Volunteers at GRACE are un-EGGS-pendable, serving in all sorts of capacities­ – from the members of the Board of Directors taking on GRACE’s most critical challenges to corporate groups completing building projects from the GRACE Project Wish List.  At every site, volunteers are integral to the day-to-day operations of GRACE.  Whether it is sorting items at Donation Station, assisting clinical staff at the Community Clinic, or helping out with admin work at GRACE Main, their work is EGGS-tensive and GRACE could not help as many people as we do without them.

Speaking of our EGGS-travagantly generous volunteers and Easter, we must mention the wonderful folks from Good Shepherd Catholic Community, who for many years have delivered Easter baskets to GRACE Client Services and several other of their outreach partners.  Our clients look forward to these and begin asking about them each year as we near Easter.  This year they brought an EGGS-aggerative amount as usual — over 150 Easter baskets for us to hand out to our clients!  In total, Good Shepherd collected over 300 baskets in this year’s drive!  And we are not talking about baskets with a few pieces of candy but an assortment of fun themed baskets chock full of toys, candy and treats!

An entire room of Easter baskets that make up just a portion of the over 300 baskets collected by the parishioners at Good Shepherd Catholic Community this year!

Collecting the Easter baskets by Good Shepherd is a church-wide EGGS-hibition of love.  Mission and Outreach Coordinator, Kathy Guarino, does much of the behind-the-scenes work by getting word about the collection out to parishioners via newsletters, flyers and bulletins.  Collection crews are at each of the masses one weekend to accept the baskets.  The following week Good Shepherd volunteers count the baskets, provide EGGS-quisite adornment, toys and candy, and then deliver the baskets to GRACE Client Services.  Parishioners Darline Laughlin and Linda Slocum have been involved with the effort and distribution for five years, and are typically the cheery faces we see when the dozens and dozens of baskets are brought to GRACE.

Pictured left to right: Good Shepherd parishioners Karen Buchanan, Darline Laughlin and Linda Slocum

GRACE would not be able to operate without the support of local church congregations with a kindred desire to share God’s love with those in need. We are tremendously blessed to have the family at Good Shepherd Catholic Community who are wholly invested in EGGS-tending grace to others.  We cannot EGGS-press our thanks enough to all of our partners – volunteers and organizations alike!

If you are interested in volunteering with GRACE for the first time we encourage you to attend an hour-long orientation to find ways to get involved. Orientation dates and other information can be found on our website.  The informational session is facilitated by our Development and Volunteer Coordinator, Sarah Armand, in an intimate setting that relays the scope of programs, addresses questions and, most importantly, determines which type of service projects would be best suited for your individual talents and resources.

We believe that every person at every age and from every walk of life has God-given talents and resources to offer.  If there is a cause you care deeply about, we’re here to help facilitate a way to serve.

Lara Hohweiler, GRACE Director of Community Engagement