Volunteering is good for one's mind and body; it fulfills your life
Updated: May 10
Being a valuable volunteer can sometimes mean not following a schedule or being involved traditionally. Several volunteers from Fairfield Harbour have shown that individuals can make a difference in endlessly creative ways.
Religious Community Services
Maureen Prendergast collects food donations from FFH residents for RCS (Religious Community Services), which she delivers monthly. Maureen is a retired teacher from Pamlico County, and during the Covid lockdown, she was concerned about all the laid-off workers and children who were not getting meals at school. She purchased $5-$10 of food each week to donate to RCS and offered to collect and deliver donations for her friends in FFH who wanted to help. After the lockdown, Maureen continued picking up items and making a delivery about every three weeks. She related that years ago, when she was going through a divorce with young sons, Maureen was grateful for the "angels" that helped her and promised to pay it forward when she could. It's easy to get into the habit of picking up a few items on your grocery trips and dropping them off at Maureen's at 1419 Mona Passage Ct.
Flip Flops for Fun
Joye Moloney started "Flip Flops for Fun" six years ago with the Fairfield Harbour Yacht Club. She said she started it because there were so many collections during the holidays, and then there was a void where nothing happened. Poverty and hunger goes on all year, not just during the holidays. Since moving here from New York, she noticed that in the South, everyone wore flip-flops for about every occasion; they were quickly acquired and inexpensive. The drive was initially supported by FHYC, then FH mail, and now in tandem with the Carolina East Medical Auxiliary. This year's goal is to collect 200 flip-flops for toddlers to adults, which RCS will distribute. This year's drive is from 4/1 to 5/15, 2023, with the box in the POA office. Flip flops can also be dropped off at Joye's house at 6009 Tartan Court.
RCS Clothing Drive
Several years ago, Georgie Jackson started a clothing drive for RCS twice yearly. A unique project was the "Dress for Success" component, where clothes were donated that helped clients have a professional look for job interviews. This spring, the drive was held in memory of Georgie and her exceptional efforts toward volunteerism.
Fairfield Harbour Hospital Auxiliary
A hospital can be lonely, especially if you have moved here from a distance or are alone. The Fairfield Harbour Hospital Auxiliary aims to eliminate this feeling with caring and compassionate projects.
This organization is one of the largest volunteer groups in Fairfield Harbour, with over 100 members. Linda Neylan is a relatively new and enthusiastic organization member and serves as a historian and publicist, and she also volunteers at the hospital gift shop.
The FHHA has a place for everyone, and different talents are used to help create comfort items for hospital patients. Volunteers knit and crochet lap robes, sew baby blankets and surgery pillows for heart and mastectomy patients, and privacy catheter bags, and fidgets. Bake sales are held three times a year, and the money goes into purchasing materials for projects that go directly back into the hospital for patients.
The big project of the year is making 150 baby blankets and hats for all babies born in December and making Christmas stockings handed out to patients in the hospital over Christmas by Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Linda said, "There is something for everyone's talents to tap into the FFH Hospital Auxiliary. I do not sew, knit, or crochet. Still, I use my talents to make auxiliary scrapbooks, take pictures at meetings and events, and write for the FFH Beacon each month on the auxiliary's activities".
Linda is a retired teacher who moved here from California in 2018 after her retirement. She obtained her teaching certificate after her kids were school-age and then taught at the same school they attended for over 25 years near Carlsbad, California. Linda has four adult children and three grandchildren. She and her husband, Michael, moved here in 2018 for the wonderful people, slower pace, and new places to explore during the four seasons. Linda chose the hospital auxiliary to volunteer because it provides lovely socialization while helping the community. She has a strong faith and feels this group allows her to help a struggling world positively with individual talents and gifts. She also volunteers as a first-grade Faith Formation teacher at St. Paul's Catholic Church and is grateful to have a hometown that offers many volunteer opportunities.
The auxiliary meets on the third Monday of each month from 9:30-10:30 at the Community Center. For those interested in joining, feel free to walk in and observe a meeting or contact Darlene Madorma, membership chair, or Ruth Blackwell, chairperson.
In 1959, the restored Tryon Palace was opened in New Bern, NC. The palace, the grounds, and the History Center have become significant tourist attractions for visitors and a center of many activities for New Bern residents. One of the undiscovered shopping gems in New Bern is the Tryon Palace Museum Store which is the perfect place to pick up that hard-to-find gift.
Fairfield Harbour resident Joanne Doughty is a regular volunteer at the store and relates that the store is full of New Bern memorabilia, glassware, books, and seasonable items. The store also carries teas, local honey, NC jellies, nuts, jams, and an "old school" section of kid's toys and colonial hats.
Joanne volunteers once a week for three hours and enjoys working there because of the opportunity to meet shoppers from all over the country, and "it's a very cheerful and happy place." It allows her to serve as a New Bern goodwill ambassador by sharing her favorite places and restaurants to visit.
Joanne and her husband Ed have been Fairfield Harbour residents for ten years after moving here from Fayetteville, NC. She is originally from New York City and spent 29 years teaching special education and keeping busy with her family.
She enjoys volunteering at the Tryon Palace Gift Shop and encourages others to do the same. There are other areas in Tryon Palace to volunteer. There is a Children's Museum, gardens, other stores, character re-enactment, and many more opportunities. All of these cannot operate without volunteers.
If interested in volunteering at Tryon Palace, you can contact Terilyn Cortez, the volunteer coordinator, at email@example.com
Driving on Broad Creek Road, you can often see people in yellow jackets collecting trash from the roadsides and keeping our roads clean. These usually are volunteers working with the Road Gang from Fairfield Harbour, and the Road Gang is among many POA committees available to Fairfield Harbour residents.
The assigned areas are Broad Creek Road from Hwy 55 to the Harbour entrance, which is done monthly, and the section in Fairfield Harbour is done weekly.
Dick Steward has been in charge of the Road Gang for five years. After retiring as an industrial mechanical contractor, he moved to FFH from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Dick had a long history with the Lions Club and as a board member of the Beacon Lodge Camp for the Blind.
The Road Gang currently has about 40 volunteers, and slots are often open due to vacations, illnesses, and relocations. Check out the FH directory for other POA committees that provide volunteer opportunities.
Have you ever wondered how most of those handicapped ramps get constructed here in Fairfield Harbour? Jim Hampson and his friends have quietly made this happen to help our neighbors for over 20 years. Jim moved here from San Francisco in 2002 after retiring from his career as a Cardio-Vascular technician. At that time, Jim heard of a group that volunteered to help build handicapped ramps and was immediately interested. Don Dowling founded this service in Fairfield Harbour in the 1990s, but since Don could no longer continue, Jim agreed to take over the service with the help of Ed Threlkeld. Ed was in charge of "Human Resources" because he was so good at talking his golf buddies into volunteering to help build ramps, while Jim seemed to have a knack for designing and building the ramps. Together they formed a "band of brothers" that became heroes to many disabled residents. Because of normal attrition, the group is now down to seven members and is always looking for willing volunteers. As Jim says, "You don't have to be talented to do this type of work; we will train you." The ramp-building team comes from many different backgrounds, and none have had experience building things like ramps, but they all have a common desire to help their neighbors in need. Jim credits his crew as the "real heroes" of this community service.
When a resident needs a ramp, it's usually an unforeseen emergency that requires it to be built within a day or two. That's when the team jumps into action. The ramps stay up for as long as the residents need them and then are cheerfully taken down by the crew and removed from the premises when no longer needed. When possible, they will reuse some of the material for other ramps to keep costs down. But sometimes, the ramps stay up for years and become unsalvageable. The crew hauls those materials off to the dump, all at no extra cost to the resident.
Over the years, there have been a few instances where a ramp was built and then requested to be taken down a few days later because the person passed away. Jim said, "It's always a sad event for all of us, but we at least feel good that our efforts allowed the patient to come home and exit from a loving environment rather than in a Hospital."
Fairfield Harbour is very fortunate to have this critical service available. For more information and to join the team, contact Jim Hampson.
This article aims to provide various opportunities that can be found through volunteerism. If you want us to highlight an organization, don't hesitate to get in touch with Elaine Berberich at firstname.lastname@example.org.