While enjoying an ice cream with Sister Lucia Castellini one evening after Monday night Mass at St. Andrew Church, Ray and I received an invitation to volunteer at Hope Emergency Program. Sister Lucia, a parishioner of St. Andrew, and a Brown County Ursuline Sister is the Director of the Hope Emergency Project. Ray and I were recently retired and we couldn’t say no to her invitation to help on Wednesdays. We didn’t realize how serving others could be so rewarding.
We started volunteering in January of 2014. We love the ministry of helping the needy of Brown, Clinton, Highland and Adams Counties. The Hope Emergency Project serves hundreds of families, helping approximately 1,000 people every month. Some families need services for a short time in order to recover from a loss of a job or personal disaster while some need more long-term assistance to make their income stretch to cover their necessities. Everyone who comes for food, clothing and household items must qualify and then receive services at no charge.
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20: 35
Hope does have a few paid employees but couldn’t serve so many households if they didn’t have volunteers. On Tuesdays and Thursdays food deliveries and donations are accepted, catalogued and set up for clients who come on Wednesdays for distribution. Ray and I do a variety of things at Hope. Each week we pick up bread from Panera for distribution at Hope, we help clients make decisions on produce, frozen meats, bread, canned goods, and toiletries and even help clients to their cars with their groceries. We have also delivered the items collected from St. Andrew parishioners for our Year of Mercy Project to Hope Emergency. We have gotten to know the people and look forward to seeing them weekly, they are always so thankful for the food and appreciative of our work.
If you are interested in helping people and are looking for a volunteer opportunity, please consider Hope Emergency. We are very thankful to be involved in serving others. It has enriched our lives, humbled us and each week brings us closer to God.
We thank you Lord for all the gifts you have bestowed on us. Open our hearts to share our gifts and talents with those less fortunate.
Sharon and Ray Lamping have been members of St. Andrew Church since 2003. Ray serves at weekday Masses and is a Lector. Both Sharon and Ray are Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. They recently returned from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with other St. Andrew and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishioners. Both are retired and enjoying traveling and babysitting their grandchildren.