Sherry Jones - "It was the perfect match for me"
Agape came into my life after a 5-year journey that my family and I had caring for Mom and Dad. Mom had Alzheimer’s, which worsened in 2013 until she passed in 2016, and Dad passed in 2018 with renal failure. Taking care of loved ones with failing health does not give one much time for other things.
As I began to adjust to our new normal without Mom and Dad, I felt that familiar desire to serve God in my local church. Mom instilled in her family from my childhood that service to the Lord through service to others was important and rewarding. I wanted to get back to that kind of service again.
In April 2018, 2 months after Dad passed, my husband and I were at a Wednesday night service at EastLake Community Church, which is a sponsor church for Agape. I had never heard of this place until a sweet person named Sue Lipscomb sat down at our table during our fellowship time. We began talking and I expressed a desire to find some way to serve the Lord through our church. She told me about Agape and we scheduled a tour for the following Tuesday. She took me through the different departments with the last one being the pantry. I fell in love with the pantry!
It was the perfect match for me because I love food and the thought of any family not having enough to eat was heartbreaking to me. Since I was still working part-time, I started volunteering two Tuesdays a month that April.
Now retired and three years later in my newest role as a pantry floor supervisor for the Tuesday client days, I have seen the need and the grateful-ness of our clients many times. I still get tearful when I walk outside where we load the clients’ groceries into their cars. I watch our loaders interact with our clients and think we may be the only light and smile they get that day. The groceries that we load into their cars may be the only food they have had for a few days or even longer or it may give them peace of mind that they will have some-thing to eat for the next couple of weeks.
Agape is a beautiful place that God has created. I am so happy to be a part of His Kingdom’s work here.
“For the first time in my life, I actually missed my work and couldn’t wait to get back from Thanksgiving holiday to Agape. Volunteering at Agape allows me to serve people in my own community, and I’m so glad to be a part of this amazing ministry with so many like-minded servants of our Lord.”
“As a pastor’s wife, working at Agape is ‘stress relief’ for me. Meeting with clients and volunteers is so enjoyable, and the unity in spirit among the volunteers is so refreshing.”
Cora Arthur, USDA
Book Department Director
“My passion as I serve in the Book Department is to see the amazing resources that Agape has been blessed with and to get these into the hands of those, whether clients or volunteers, to be used by God for purposes such as saving knowledge of Christ, spiritual growth, emotional comfort and encouragement, mentoring helps, educational and pleasure reading. I get goose bumps when I hear about how a special book has helped a Mentor minister to a hurting client! I love the folks at Agape and love to help find reading materials for them.”
Jan and Rick Johnston
Jan says, “I volunteer here because I strongly believe in home missions and reaching out to our community. I love the fact that all donations go to client needs and not organizational costs. Everything is poured back into ministry and you can see that you are helping people and spreading the Gospel.
Jan Johnston, USDA
Rick says, “When I work at Agape, I am living out Matthew 25:40: ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ ”
Rick Johnston, Maintenance/Grounds
Bob Lohmeyer - Furniture
Bob Lohmeyer recently had a couple who came to the Furniture Department to pick up an item. The wife mentioned the husband was about to have hip surgery, and Bob, who had had hip surgery a couple of years ago, was alert and began asking them if they had certain items that would be helpful as he recovered.
They had none of the items he suggested; so he directed them to the Storage Shed, on the other side of the property, and met them there, where he outfitted them with everything he would need.
The woman was so touched, she began to sing a song: “Jesus Loves Me, this I know” . . . at which point Bob joined in, and through tears they finished the so . . . “for the Bible tells me so.”
Bob says, “It is moments like this that give me the motivation to come to Agape every time I’m scheduled.” Bob Lohmeyer has served at Agape for over seven years.
Karen Fusaro - Gift Baskets Manager
“I didn’t choose Agape; Agape chose me. I get so much more from this work than I give. This is my local family since I moved from New York. Each gift basket is made with a lot of love, and that is what keeps me motivated. I am so passionate about what we do and how important it is to provide some-thing really nice for our clients, who need a bit of sunshine every day.”
I can do whatever God asks me to do —no excuses — because He is with me. (Power Thought based on Gideon’s interaction with God in Judges 6)
Agape is such a special place. Many organizations give things, but Agape provides the spiritual component in people’s lives and that makes Agape different and special. I’ve done several jobs at Agape, but I truly enjoy meeting clients and interacting with them in the Store.
Benda Beisser, Store Scheduler
“My son, who is the pastor at Radford Baptist Church, said it’s a good way to serve and he’s so right! Plus it gets me out of the house.”
Pat Hofheinz - Data, Phone, Reception
I love the way things are done at Agape. I love mentoring and praying with clients, and I am thankful to be a part of an organization that provides financial, household and clothing assistance as well.”
David Wolf- Pantry & Website Administrator
David Wolf responded, "As a Christian, I want to know God and to know the things that are important to God. The things that please Him. I want to support those things that God is passionate about. Certain scripture passages stand out to me that reveal these things.
In Isaiah 58, God reveals through Isaiah what true fasting is all about. God says, "Is it [true fasting] not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?"
In Psalm 82 we are called to "Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed."
In Matthew 25, Jesus says "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took me in. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me." Jesus says that when you do these things to the least of those who belong to Him, it is the same as doing it for Him. And Jesus said He will distinguish the sheep from the goats by the presence of these acts of kindness.
I love the simplicity of John the Baptist's message in Luke 3. When the crowds ask John "what must we do?" He tells them "The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same."
These scriptures and others help me to choose those organizations that I support. The Agape Center is one of those organizations because what they do is consistent with those things that delight God."
Charlie Goodman is from Bedford County and has worked in the pantry since 2013, Charlies says, “I wouldn’t work this hard for pay, but I will volunteer for the Lord because it is so fulfilling. I really like serving the clients with my friends in the Pantry.”
Charlie Goodman - Pantry
"I enjoy the work at Agape, and especially the interaction and serving clients from my community."
Alicia Van Vleet - Front Desk
"I volunteer to serve the Lord and to serve others."
Ted Bernau - Pantry
“I like serving others, so the interaction with the clients is rewarding. I also enjoy my colleagues in the Pantry. I have worked in other food pantries and I appreciate how Agape is organized and the unity of the volunteers. I drive 45 minutes each way to volunteer and it is the highlight of my week.” Sam Skillman - Volunteer since 2016
Sam Skillman - Pantry
The main reason I volunteer at Agape is that I am serving my Lord through my service here. It is personally very rewarding, as we meet may different people and have the opportunity to share Jesus with them.
Debbie Vreeland - Floor Supervisor
Lucia Willis began volunteering in July 2018. Lucia says, "I am amazed at the work done here at Agape. I love helping people. Being a runner allows me to serve the clients ina special way as I select just the right item to meet their needs."
Lucia Willis - Runner