Volunteer Spotlight: Mom to Mom

Volunteer Spotlight: Mom to Mom

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

The Czarnecki & Sapp families

Photograph & Article by Andrea Six

Help can come in unlikely ways. Sometimes a small moment, like helping a child build a s’more, can create a powerful change. Though the lives of Gloria Sapp, Amy Czarnecki and their families, differ drastically from their newfound friends at Union Mission’s Magdalene House, they were able to connect with something as simple as a backyard campfire.

Each month Amy and Gloria, along with their two families of four, volunteer at Magdalene House, Union Mission’s emergency shelter for women with children and spend some time with the families there. Every time they volunteer, they do something different. From game and pizza nights to cookie decorating days with hot cocoa, there’s a lot of fun when these families get together at the Magdalene House.

But the best night of all? That’s s’mores night, hands down.

Just a few months ago, Amy and Gloria’s small group went over to the Magdalene Project after dinner with a fire pit and all of the fixin’s for s’mores in tow.

 

“The kids were outside playing when we got there and we set up the fire pit, Amy explained. “One of the boys we keep in touch with was the first one in line. He was so excited. He had his marshmallow roaster out and he was ready, sitting right next to my husband to make his s’more because he had never done that before.”

Gloria, a teacher and married mother of two, brings a bag of goodies to surprise the kids with—sometimes there’s crowns and cards or bubbles and other fun treats. She’ll pass them out to the kids and they can play while the mothers chat and connect. Those connections can be so strong that, on more than one occasion, the families exchange contact information and stay in touch.

“As mothers and people with family, I feel like it’s really easy to connect with them because they’re mothers with children,” Gloria revealed. “It’s easier for me to relate and talk to them. You hear their struggles and can encourage them.”

Volunteering is very much a family affair. Their children are dedicated volunteers and will ask when they get to go see their friends at Magdalene. The relationships there go beyond a traditional playdate. When Amy’s children noticed that their friends were just sleeping with pillows and blankets, it spurred them to ask what they could do to help.

“It’s easy to sit back and say we should do something, we should act. These social injustices are easy to complain about, but if you get out in your community, you’ll realize there’s so many ways to make a difference, even a small difference, and make a fun night for someone,” said Amy.

Volunteer Spotlight: Gloria

Volunteer Spotlight: Gloria

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

Making A Difference

Every Friday, the doors of the Union Mission warehouse open to clients in need of an outfit for a job interview or household items like pots and pans to help ease the transition to their new apartment. They come in ones and twos, sometimes nervous or hesitant, but they leave with a smile and the tools to move forward with confidence. The team that provides this vital support is made up entirely of volunteers, led by South University student Gloria Richmond.

“We are so grateful to have the support of a volunteer leader like Gloria,” says Director of Development, Laura Lane McKinnon. “She shares so generously of her time and herself with our clients, giving them not only access to additional supportive services but a sense that our community is here for them and helping them towards success.”

Gloria, dressed for a hard day in the warehouse, sharing why she supports Union Mission.

Photograph by Maggie Lynn, Community Outreach Coordinator

Gloria, the President of the South University Psychology Club, brings not only herself but her two sons and many members of the Psychology Club each week to sort donations and assist clients with getting the items they need. She also led a Hanger Donation Drive to help get the clothing area of the warehouse organized, making donated clothing easily available to all Union Mission clients. Her dedication to the work of Union Mission and to helping those in need is inspiring to staff and client alike.

Life is about helping others”, Gloria wrote when asked her why she supports Union Mission.

Life is about helping others”, Gloria wrote when we asked her why she supports Union Mission. Gloria lives those words each week here at Union Mission and we are truly grateful for all she’s done to help prevent and end homelessness here in Savannah.

If you’re interested in joining Gloria and becoming a Union Mission volunteer, please email us at volunteer@unionmission.org .

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