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My Volunteer Journey

by Deb Lakeman, volunteer

In 2010, I was looking for a place and a way I could be of service. I saw a notice in Calvary Church’s bulletin that Landis Homes was seeking volunteers. Since I live in Lititz, I called Sue Shirk, Director of Volunteer Services, to inquire about becoming a volunteer and the adventure began. I found out there were many ways I could serve.

 My first volunteer assignment was shopping at Oregon Dairy. My shopping partner has always been resident volunteer, Mim Noll, and we became, in our minds, “The Dream Team.” 

Later that year, I suggested to my husband, Ken, that maybe we could help at Fellowship Day. Because of a tropical storm that year and a week’s postponement, there were lots of ways we could serve for two days. We helped with packaging rolls and cookies and spent the day of the event helping set up and running errands wherever needed. We were sent many places to fill in gaps. Those nights we were exhausted, but it felt so good to feel needed and useful.

Ken continues to volunteer on weekends escorting residents by wheelchair to special events in the chapel, at subsequent Fellowship Days, and at the annual Corn Pickin’ 5K run.

I have since become a manager in the General Store and the card and gift buyer for both the Dogwood Gift Shoppe and the General Store. I have driven shuttle, escorted residents and helped in the mailroom and at book sales. Ken and I power shop once a month at Costco to buy mostly candy for all the sweet-toothed people of Landis Homes. We never leave Costco without someone commenting about the amount of sweets we are buying.  We smile and say it is for some friends.

Often I have wondered if I am really serving.  Then a resident will come into the store and be very appreciative that the stores provide an opportunity to shop even when it might be difficult to go off campus.  I love to decorate the store windows which residents walk by, especially when they knock on the window and give me a thumbs up.

Having retired from my retail job, I can spend more time volunteering at Landis Homes. My first day of driving shuttle was disastrous.  Fortunately, my rider had a terrific sense of humor and we both just laughed at my struggles.  Eventually, I got her to her destination.

 It was fun to do all these different things but I could not do everything, so I have settled in at the General Store and shopping.  I enjoy meeting and getting to know our customers. They have become friends. Ken and I look forward to his retirement so we can both be involved with Landis Homes.  We have different volunteer opportunities in mind but we love serving here. We have been blessed by serving at Landis Homes and hope to continue for a long time.