Meet Our Volunteers

More than 1/3 of the work of Crisis Assistance Ministry is performed by caring community volunteers. 

Here are a few of their stories:

Amy Richardson Volunteer of the MonthAmy Richardson

Amy has been a Benefit Counselor since February 2013.  Amy has shown an admirable generosity in giving her time volunteering with the Benefit Bank as well as in our Free Store Production during the summer along with her two daughters.  Since the start, Amy has dedicated at least four hours per week to connecting clients to income-boosting supports such as Food Stamps, Medicaid and higher education.  She also trained to become a Certified Application Counselor to assist clients enrolling in health coverage through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace.

Often, Amy refers clients to community resources and educates them on alternative solutions.  She leaves a spark in everyone she meets.   This fall Amy coordinated a group volunteer project for Beta Club students from her daughter’s school to help in prepare donated items for the Store. Most recently, Amy nominated the staff of Crisis Assistance Ministry for breakfast from Bojangles to recognize all the hard work we do daily and WE WON!!!!

What sets Amy apart is her endless enthusiasm and her pleasant demeanor.   She is always willing to investigate a solution and come up with exciting ideas to benefit our clients.   She is someone who makes things happen.  We are fortunate to have Amy as a part of our team!!!

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Our 2013 Shirley Henry Volunteer award winners.

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Laura Barber, pictured left with Daniel Valdez, Advocacy Program Manager, came to Crisis Assistance Ministry to complete her psychology practicum before graduating from UNCC this May.  As she learned more about the various established programs and pilot projects in Advocacy, Laura immediately showed interest in Circles of Care.    Due to her love of working with our customers and developing their leadership skills, she became part of our project team and was very instrumental in implementing the Circles of Care program. Laura would complete tasks ahead of time and her quality of work is outstanding.  She stayed well beyond her school's required hours because she really wanted to see the project through. Kayt Szulwach, Project Manager, said “Laura has been a rock star project team member!   She is always willing to take on action items and completes her tasks timely and accurately.   She never shies away from a request and volunteers to take on more work.   The Circles of Care project would not be where it is today without her.”  Thank you Laura!

 

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Twenty years ago, volunteer Jean Cossart (pictured right) used a ledger and an ink pen to write checks to utility vendors on behalf of families in need.  Today, she still helps make sure families can stay in their homes and that checks get credited properly to customers in need.  The tools, however, are very different.  Jean recently earned certification to work in our new customer database and continues to serve in the Business Office every week with grace, kindness, and patience.  Business Office Manager Shannon Hammer (pictured left) describes her as "a pleasure to work with because of her outstanding performance, commitment dedication, self-sacrifice, dignity, and generosity of time and spirit."  For twenty years of service to this community, Jean was recently recognized as volunteer of the month at Crisis Assistance Ministry!

 

 

Nick Maglosky (pictured right in the red jacket) leads a regular Muffin Ministry group every month at 7am since April of 2010. Through snow, rain, and sweltering heat, his group has shared breakfast biscuits, sweets, juice, coffee, water and caring smiles with approximately 5,000 individuals coming to seek assistance over the past three years. Nick and his teammates personally sponsor each breakfast. What's more, he has recruited team members and their families to get involved in the Free Store and other volunteer projects.

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Gene Baker (pictured left), was recently named volunteer of the month for her service as a Benefit Bank Counselor.  Three days a week she helps people in need complete applications for resources like Nutrition Assistance, Medicaid and Student Aid.  She is passionate about empowering people with the tools and the motivation to attain financial stability and avoid a future crisis.  We are proud to have her as part of the Crisis Assistance Ministry team.

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A youth group service project here gave Morgan an idea.  What if other teens came together to support families in crisis on a regular basis? 

So Morgan created Crisis Assistance Youth Advocacy Coalition (CAYAC) to encourage teens to get involved, have fun, and make a difference in our community by helping their neighbors in need.  A student at Mallard Creek High School, she spearheaded the group: posting to Facebook, talking to youth groups at area houses of worship, and generating enthusiasm for regular volunteer days at the agency. Morgan was recognized as the agency's first Outstanding Youth Volunteer in 2012.

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Thank you, Morgan!

Helen and Cristy started volunteering in April and set right to work doing what we’ve come to call “file aerobics”.  They dedicate two mornings a week here--stocking our customer file folders, maintaining our file system, even designing better ways to organize the system--while bringing smiles to team members during times of stress.  Their task is very physical and sometimes they leave looking like they’ve been “sweating to the oldies” as Richard Simmons might say. 
 
They started out wanting to be volunteer interviewers but are happy to stay focused on the task they were first assigned…making the daily task of preventing homelessness easier for caseworkers, business office, and everyone who needs to access the files.

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Thank you Cristy and Helen!

Jeff Mitchiner always knew he wanted to be a pastor.  And when he retired for service in the Presbyterian Church USA, he knew he would return to Charlotte and get involved with community nonprofits.

Now, he helps out weekly by calling donors to say THANK YOU for supporting families facing financial crisis.  Just to keep it interesting, he also helps out at the Furniture Bank with recordkeeping and customer referrals.

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Thank you all for your commitment to preventing homelessness and preserving dignity.