Meet Betty Cox, who has been volunteering at New Hope for 5 years. After her husband passed away, Betty made the long move from Roanoke, Virginia to Spokane to be near her daughter and son-in-law. Moving at age 80 meant Betty had to find ways to connect with a new community, so when a friend told her about the opportunity to volunteer at New Hope, Betty was ready to act. Now, she is at New Hope on Thursdays, waiting on clients, keeping the supply room in order, and making bank deposits. Betty enjoys interacting with new clients and seeing their reactions when they realize how much New Hope does and how these services can change their lives. Drop in some day and say hello to Betty; you’ll love her smile.
Meet Ron Hoxie, New Hope’s data guy. For several years, Ron and his wife, Lisa, and son, Daniel, enjoyed coming to New Hope’s summer concerts. Then about 4 years ago, Ron answered New Hope’s call for more office help and volunteered. He quickly became the data entry guru in charge of entering all client and center operations data. Now, you can find him at his desk every Tuesday and Thursday during regular open hours.
In addition to his regular data entry work, Ron is also a member of New Hope’s Housing and Homeless Task Force, with his primary focus on creating surveys, and tracking and analyzing the gathered data. In order to gain a better understanding of the complexities of our areas problems with a lack of affordable housing and a large population of unhoused people, Ron has also spent many hours in online training and conferences.
Outside of New Hope, Ron enjoys a wide array of outdoor sports and Ninja Warrior activities. He even has a small Ninja Warrior course set up in his back yard. Best of all, his 13-year-old son, Daniel, participated in American Ninja Warrior Junior 2, and Ron had the fun of driving him to his sessions.
Meet Beth, New Hope’s Clothing Bank Coordinator. After working for 50 years, Beth retired and moved to Spokane. She was looking for something to fill her time and saw a New Hope request for more volunteers in her church bulletin. When she checked New Hope’s website and saw that 16 churches had joined to provide assistance for people in the North Spokane area, she decided to volunteer. Now after 4 years at New Hope, Beth notes that “The positive attitude of the volunteers working together encourages further volunteering.” Say hello to Beth if you see her at New Hope, and if you have lived in Alaska ask her about her time there.
When you arrive at New Hope Resource Center, you may well be met by a tall man with a gentle smile. This is Tom Carnie, who will ask if he can help you. He came to New Hope as a new client four years ago, and soon then director Janeen Leachman asked if he would like to be “hired.” Tom accepted the invitation to volunteer and has been faithfully helping donors carry in their donations and clients load the clothing and necessities they have received. Tom says that what he likes most at New Hope is helping people. Tom was born in Spokane and likes puzzles and painting pictures. Say hi to Tom when you see him at New Hope.
When you bring donations to New Hope Resource Center, Chuck Conkling may be the first person to help you get them into the center, often using our big dolly for transporting large loads. Chuck is a 1983 graduate of Mead High School, who then attended SCC for training in basic hydraulics. After years of working in construction, physical wear and tear caused Chuck to retire. However, Chuck wanted to continue using his skills while helping others and began volunteering at New Hope about a year ago. Now he not only helps with loading and unloading donations but also handles plumbing and small household repairs for New Hope clients. We are fortunate to have such a jack-of-all-trades on our volunteer roster.
While it is rare to have a married couple both volunteering at New Hope, Jim and Valerie Mullen don’t mind being an exception. Valerie began helping in the clothing bank about 8 years ago. A couple years later, Jim followed her and set up a mini-office in New Hope’s entry space. As a Retired Lieutenant-Colonel in the Air Force, Jim wanted to help veterans learn about and connect with federal and state resources as well as some 120 private organizations available to them. Now on Thursdays, while Valerie is working in the clothing bank, Jim sits near the entry waiting for a vet needing help. Both Valerie and Jim say that they enjoy people and having something worthwhile to do.
For many New Hope clients the first smiling face they see at the center is Connie Schmidt’s. Connie had heard others at her church talking about volunteering at New Hope and decided to check it out for herself. She has now been a volunteer at New Hope for a decade. On Tuesdays, she sits at the front desk, where she greets and assists clients, and records information in their files. She is also a member of the newly formed Homeless and Housing Task Force. Like many other volunteers, Connie particularly enjoys interacting with our clients and has come to think of the New Hope Resource Center as her second home. Drop by some Tuesday, 9:30 to 1:30, and thank Connie for her many hours of service.
Like many others who serve at New Hope, Sonia Abreu heard about this ministry from another volunteer who thought Sonia would enjoy being part of this ministry. Now Sonia has been helping in the clothing bank for about 5 years and loves her interactions with the clients. She also enjoys working with the other volunteers as they all seek to be helpful to others.
Brenda Carlson, who says, “I’m a people helper,” has been volunteering at the New Hope Resource Center for over a decade. She heard that help was needed in the clothing bank and soon was “enmeshed” in the work at the center. As a mail carrier, Brenda has opportunities to spread the good news about New Hope when people on her route take a minute or two to chat with her. Brenda is amazed by the tremendous growth and changes in New Hope’s ministry during the past ten years, and she looks forward to seeing what the future will bring.
Leslie Kueffler first came to New Hope to help with Easter baskets and has stayed on for more than seven years.She was looking for a place where she could volunteer to help others and New Hope was a perfect fit. Now, Leslie is the Client Services Director in charge of coordinating other volunteers for special events such as school supplies distribution, coat give away, Christmas gifts, Easter baskets, etc. She also volunteers in the office. Leslie is constantly looking for ever better ways to help our clients and is amazed at how an organization with only one half-time paid employee can operate so successfully with volunteers. Like others, Leslie has noted how New Hope’s ministry has grown and transformed as the needs of its clients have changed. Take time to thank Leslie for her work when you see her at New Hope.
Soon after our current New Hope Center building opened in 2009, Penny Nelson offered to hold a two-hour knitting class here in the evenings after her day of work as a nurse. Although the knitting class did not last long, Penny did, and she still remains a volunteer at New Hope sorting donations each Tuesday. Penny not only knits, she also spins and weaves her own yarn. In addition, she loves to bake, and the other Tuesday volunteers look forward to the wonderful baked treats she bring to the center to share with them. When asked what she likes best about working at New Hope, Penny gave the same answer as many others: “The people.” If you drop by the NHRC on a Tuesday, look for Penny, and thank her for her many years of volunteering with us.
Lois Blanchette has been a volunteer with New Hope Resource Center since 2009. Lois decided to volunteer because she knows that giving back to her community is both a joy and a blessing. Currently, Lois serves as a member of both the New Hope Board and the Client Services Committee, and her talents have helped with almost every aspect of New Hope and the North County Food Pantry. She has a special love for the Food Pantry’s community garden and keeps us updated on its production during the summers. She is always ready to help with special activities such as the Christmas party, Easter baskets, School supplies and coats distributions, and the annual benefit concert for which she makes delicious fruit jams to sell. Lois says little about all that she does, but those of us who have worked with her over the years know what a valuable part of the New Hope team she is. Thank you, Lois, for your dedication and service.