Emerging from the Shadows

I greet our friends with a warm smile and give many hugs within minutes of opening every day. We catch up on our evenings, weekends and joke while we pour our coffee. Some of our folks will play cards with friends while others prefer to keep to themselves and stay in the shadows. We see these faces, sitting in the dark, and allow them their space. The Community Engagement Center provides space for you to be you.

Every once in a while a face will come out of the shadows. Earlier this month, Tony emerged from the shadows and started taking care of the community kitchen. I smiled and joked with him about coming out of his shell and helping. He took pride in keeping the kitchen clean, asked how to make coffee, refilled supplies as needed and helped close the center every day for a week. The following Monday morning he asked when he was getting his volunteer name badge. I smiled and told him I’d be right back. I returned with his name badge. He wears it proudly and every day would ask what else he can do.

The following week our friend Tyler asked me what he could do to help out. I asked him to sort donations and help organize the clothing closet and food pantry. He followed me around as I handed out toiletries, pain meds and supplies. We got him a name badge and he shared volunteer keys with Thomas who has been volunteering for a month or so.

As volunteer coordinator, just one of my many roles, I realized we had more volunteers than keys. That was quickly remedied and I was happy to see the smiles on the “T-Trio” when each of them realized that their badge came with keys. I simply smiled and said “Thank you for helping, now get back to work!”.

As our day comes to a close we see many faces emerge from the shadows. More and more folks are washing dishes, checking bathrooms and organizing the clothing closet. Our smiles are bigger than ever and the laughter is real and uninhibited.

We are a big family called Love Wins Community Engagement Center. Come by and see us in action! If you’d like a tour or want to volunteer please email me at alyssa@lovewinscec.org and we can make that happen.

Exciting Volunteer Opportunities!

Often when people come to volunteer at the center, they don’t know where to start or how they fit in. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities available, including some brand new ones, so let us give you the rundown on some really great programs that we’re working hard on here at the Community Center.


The Really Free Closet

Volunteer, Billy, organizing men’s pants on our new hanging racks.

Do you have a flair for fashion? Do you have previous retail experience, or are you a meticulous organizer? If this sounds like you, we need your help! We need a volunteer every day who can keep our donation closet in excellent working order and help people find the right sizes in what they’re looking for. Duties include straightening and sorting donations, organizing clothing into sizes and being able to help people find what they need. We already have a volunteer or two who love to do this, but we have 5 days to fill at 4 hours each, so let alyssa@lovewinscec.org know that you’re interested, and we’ll get you started!


Front Desk

Volunteer, Thomas, works the front desk and gives new folks tours of the center.

We have a beautiful, front desk office that is completely under-utilized, it’s intention was to be a welcoming station for guests. Ideally, the volunteer who hangs out in this posh office will greet guests, make sure they sign in, answer the phone, and not be afraid to say “I don’t know the answer to that, let me ask and get right back to you”, then find a staff member. This person will have a set of keys to our hygiene and first aid closets, and be able to get folks needed things out of there like soap, shampoo, toothpaste and band-aids. They’ll be able to let folks know that breakfast is at 9:30 and lunch is at 11:30, as well as being able to point people in the right direction so that they can get their needs met. If anyone would like to take it a step further, bring your laptop and look up directions, phone numbers, etc. to help our folks navigate the world. If you enjoy reception/admin./host opportunities, we need you! Email Alyssa Chamblee at alyssa@lovewinscec.org.


Nutrition Program Assistant

Operations Associate, Blu, making pasta for lunch in the church kitchen.

Do you love working in the kitchen? Do you have good knife skills, take direction well and maybe even have a couple of great recipes that you can instantly recall just by looking at what’s available (I know I do), then we need you in the kitchen! We serve breakfast and lunch every day, and sometimes that is more successful with more hands on deck. The person who would enjoy doing this would be someone with a passion for food who lacks the need to be in charge of the kitchen (we have a person for that on staff), though your moment may come if anyone falls ill around here. They will be a person who knows when the pot needs stirring, the griddle needs cleaning, and that you don’t cut chicken on the vegetable board. This person can be of many personality types, from the type of person who loves to follow a recipe to a person who plays “Iron Chef” with things grown in the community garden. If you love to feed people, we have a position (or 2) per day for you! If you’re interested in this position, email Blu Honeycutt at blu@lovewinscec.org and cc alyssa@lovewinscec.org.


Events Coordinator/Fundraiser

Flyer from the Love Wins Coat Drive at Bittersweet, organized by fundraising volunteer, Esther.

Are you the type of person who doesn’t have time to come volunteer during the day, but you can organize and throw a great party? Do you know a lot of restaurant owners/DJ’s/local business owners/grant givers? Then we really need you! We have to keep the momentum going and let folks know that we are here and exactly what we do. The person who would like to volunteer in this capacity will have an idea for a fundraiser. They’ll have social connections and a good online social media presence. They’ll know exactly what I’m talking about in this description. You’re a mover and a shaker; you get things done. You create food drives, art shows, benefits, galas, balls, big parties, comedy shows, book bands, maybe you’re just really good at organizing your church into action. Whatever your special skill is, we need you. If you are picking up what I’m laying down, email MaRanda at maranda@lovewinscec.org.


Special Skills

Shelving, put together by our volunteer, Chico, for our food pantry.

Do you have a special skill that you would like to use for good? Are you good with computers? Are you a good artist? Are you a resume’ guru? We have 1 art therapist and 1 yoga instructor right now, but we could use more enrichment programs. Bring us your talent and share it with people who may not have the opportunity to participate in what you do typically. Not big on people interaction? We have opportunities for handy folks who are good with any type of trade skill pretty regularly. Prefer one on one interaction? We could use therapists, people with trucks that can help us move big things, carpenters to mend our deck, and people who can help us with getting folks to their appointments on time. If you like your day to be different every day and you have a special skill, we need you!!! Please email Alyssa at alyssa@lovewinscec.org. You are a crafty problem solver, and we could use your help!

Camping enthusiast? Awesome! Do you personally know where to go and how to navigate social programs? We need you so bad!!! Have you been a CNA, a nurse, an EMT professional? We always have questions! Do you want to teach a class in sewing, plumbing, finance, jewelry making, cooking, drawing, music, computer literacy, reading/writing, anything- we would love for you to teach us how to do that, too. Do you love to work in the garden? We have a community garden! There are so many opportunities to contribute; bring us your gifts and give the gift of a second chance for someone who could really use your help. We will hold a space for you, and together, we’ll hold a space for people to be their best selves!

To quote Pastor Hugh, “Nobody  has their best day alone”. Come make someone’s day!