Looking forward to seeing those smiling faces
By Richard Mailhot, Volunteer
After I retired in July 2014 I began volunteering at our Church Food Bank (two weeks each month) and local Soup Kitchen (one day per week). These volunteer opportunities were a way to give back to my church and community and at the same time provide ways for me to continue “working” and to keep busy and productive.
Grateful for these weekly and monthly commitments, I continued to think about what I could do on the other days of the week and came up with an idea: My mother-in-law is a Residents at the Little Sisters of the Poor Jeanne Jugan Residence so I visited the Home asked Kate, the Activities Director, if she could use some help and her response was a resounding “Absolutely!”
Thus became the start of a long-term relationship with the Little Sisters of the Poor. At first my responsibilities included assisting Kate with a variety of Resident activities – shopping trips, country rides, monthly birthday parties, holiday festivities at the home and later helping out at special events, such as the annual St. Patrick’s Day Dinner and PawSox Family Fun Day.
There is so much need and so much to do. In 2016, John, another steadfast volunteer was asked by the Mother Superior if he would be interested in running the annual 2-day summer yard sale. John agreed only if I co-chaired the event with him. And so it began. During the course of the year as donations came in, I sorted, cleaned, and priced every single item. We moved the event indoors to insure the weather could not affect the success of the sale. The yard sale sparked the Bargain Boutique, a popular part of the annual Christmas Bazaar held each November.
All of these activities have been so rewarding. I have thoroughly enjoyed the work and the joyful environment but mostly the opportunity to raise funds for the Home, helping to make a difference and to see the smiles on everyone’s faces.
The Coronavirus has put a stop to everything. Since March 13 I have not been able to enter the Home, visit with relatives, nor help the Sisters and staff. I truly miss being there, volunteering my time, and witnessing the love and dedication that the Little Sisters provide to all of the Residents.
I cannot wait to get back to continue my “calling” of giving my time and talent to the Residents and the Little Sisters of the Poor. I miss being there as much as I hope the Residents, staff and Little Sisters miss me. I look forward to the day when we can resume our activities and we can all have smiles on our faces once again.