My guest blogger today is Julie Adams-Buchanan, whose roots at First Baptist go down at least as deep as her grandfather, Dr. Theodore F. Adams, beloved pastor of the church from 1936 to 1968. Julie works at the Shepherd’s Center of Richmond, which I didn’t know much about until I sat down at Julie’s table at a Wednesday night supper a few months ago and started asking questions. She tells the story below, and I hope you will take time to read it. The Shepherd’s Center may fill a need in your life, or in the life of someone you love.
Several months ago I was having Wednesday night dinner with Jim and he asked what I did for a living. I told him about my work at The Shepherd’s Center of Richmond and he responded with, “So, you bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond on a daily basis?” And I answered, “Well, yes I do!”
I have truly found a calling at The Shepherd’s Center, a non-profit organization for older people in Richmond. It is both an educational and service organization. I coordinate the services offered to those 60 and older, with the primary service being transportation to doctor appointments and grocery stores. All of these rides are provided at no charge by volunteers or as I like to call them, Angels on Earth! I am so fortunate to work with these individuals.
I never knew how much of an issue transportation for the elderly was until I began working at the Center. The ability to drive is equivalent to independence. Losing independence is a leading fear as people age. For various reasons, older people lose this independence. Our volunteers help empower these individuals by giving them the control and freedom to secure their own transportation without feeling like a burden to family and friends.
But it’s more than just rides. For many of our clients, a trip to the doctor is the only time they get out of their homes and interact with others. We become friends with them and some consider us family. We are their touchstone, their friendly ear, their sound board. Sometimes they just need a kind word; to know that someone cares about what they have to say. They call when they have questions and may need direction or encouragement. As one of our clients often says, “I don’t know what I would do without the shepherd.” It makes our hearts happy to hear this.
Countless times I have stayed on the phone with a client who just really needed to talk. I feel blessed to be there for them. And I hear so many stories from our volunteers about how good they felt after being able to help someone in such a simple way – giving a ride with kindness and generosity.
So, if you haven’t stepped off that mission bus yet, there’s still time. The Shepherd’s Center is one way to bring the KOH2RVA! Think about how much a few hours of your time would help someone who is in need? Won’t you give the “gift of you?”