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Rowan Helping Ministries honors volunteers

More than 300 volunteers were honored recently at Rowan Helping Ministries’ annual Volunteer Recognition Banquet held at the Salisbury Civic Center. Those attending are among the 2,500 volunteers needed annually to provide services and essential needs to Rowan County citizens living in poverty.

The guest speaker for the event was Meredith Dolhare of Charlotte, founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization RunningWorks. Until recently, RunningWorks depended solely on volunteers to use the sport of running to help people end the cycles of abuse, poverty and homelessness in their lives.

Speaking to the event theme, “Love in Motion,” Dolhare reminded volunteers of the incredible difference they make in the lives of those they serve. She used a quote by Christopher Reeve to describe how a group of volunteers can impact their communities – “Nothing of any consequence happens unless people get behind an idea. It begins with an individual, and they share the idea with more individuals and eventually it becomes a movement.” Dolhare urged audience members to continue their important work in offering hope to those wanting to change their lives.

Rowan Helping Ministries is partnering with Dolhare to bring the RunningWorks program to Salisbury for shelter guests and other clients of Rowan Helping Ministries. Dolhare also has RunningWorks programs at Charlotte’s Urban Ministry Center, the Charlotte Rescue Mission and two other organizations in the region.

Rowan Helping Ministries’ staff and board members thanked volunteers for their service and loyalty to the organization. More than half of the attendees had dedicated five years or more as volunteers in the shelter, Jeannie’s Kitchen, the food pantry, the clothing center or on the board of directors or agency committees.

Executive Director Kyna Grubb provided a special award for a volunteer group to the Food Lion store managers and employees. They have volunteered over 1,000 hours since May 2014 to serve meals in Jeannie’s Kitchen, move and set up the new Food Pantry, pre-pack USDA food for distribution to clients, and to serve on the Rowan Helping Ministries’ board of directors and committees.

“Food Lion is extraordinary through its support of us with food, financial gifts and the generous sharing of associates’ time,” Grubb said.

Retired volunteer Odessa Thompson was honored for her dedication and many years of service to the Crisis Assistance Network. “Ms. Odessa” served for 23 years as a volunteer interviewer and was described as a “long and faithful servant” in her work with clients needing assistance with financial crises.

Joel Lawrence was honored for his volunteer work on the Facilities Committee and with electrical and energy issues. He has helped the organization achieve goals related to energy conservation and use of solar energy.

Debbie Suggs Catering served as food sponsor for the event.

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