Shepherd’s Center honors volunteers at annual luncheon

Sam Matthews, Shepherd Center's executive director, thanks volunteers for their service at a luncheon on March 21.

Shepherd’s Center honors volunteers at annual luncheon
March 28
10:31 2024

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month, but the Shepherd’s Center of Greater Winston-Salem got a jump on celebrating their volunteers at their annual appreciation luncheon on March 21 at Ardmore Baptist Church. The luncheon began with a welcome by Shepherd’s Center board chair, Fred Johnson, and a blessing given by Rev. Craig Schaub of Parkway United Church of Christ. The luncheon was catered by Mrs. Pumpkin’s Bakery-Deli. 

The keynote address was given by Randell Jones, an award-winning author and storyteller. Most of his books feature historical aspects of North Carolina and he has written frequently about Daniel Boone. 

Jones presented an interesting program about Lucy Bramlett Patterson and her lifetime of volunteer service that has had lasting effects on our Winston-Salem community, as well as North Carolina and beyond. She graduated from the Salem Female Academy (now Salem College) in 1882. A passion for literacy, she helped establish Winston-Salem’s first library in 1905, a Carnegie Library at the corner of Cherry and Third Streets, called the Patterson Library. The building is still there and is now a Catholic church. In her honor, the former Depot Street was renamed Patterson Avenue. Patterson lived a life of service and Jones congratulated the Shepherd’s Center volunteers for their service to older adults in our community.

Sam Matthews, executive director of the Shepherd’s Center, addressed the gathering and mentioned that the luncheon’s theme was “A Time of Transition.” Some of the transitions he mentioned were staff that had left or retired and the new staff that have joined the organization over the past year. He mentioned the continuing increase in services offered to older adults and said that over the past 25 years, transportation volunteers have made 150,000 trips, minor home repair volunteers have completed 12,000 home repairs, and that in the past year over 30,000 hours of volunteer hours have been given to support the programs of the Shepherd’s Center.

These volunteers were recognized for their service during the luncheon:

Faith In Action Care Program:

*Theresa Hill – Transportation volunteer, has provided 154 one-way trips over the past two years.

*Jack Noor – Minor Home Repair/Handyman, has completed 262 projects, has trained other volunteers in how to install grab bars, and makes an outstanding chocolate cake.

*Anita Hatchett – Friendly Visitation volunteer, became a close friend of the client who she was visiting and maintained that friendship for 12 years, until the client passed away.

Vital Living Program:

*The Artistic Expressions class was honored as a group for their hospitality in welcoming visitors to the center and giving tours to potential members, putting a friendly face on the organization from the time someone enters the door.

Book Center:

*Harry Tuch, Mike Eby and Cam Casstevens were honored for their work in the book center, accepting and sorting donations and preparing for the annual Book Sale.

SHIIP (Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program) Counseling:

*Rick Atwater has helped over 60 people with information about the various Medicare options during his 60 hours of volunteer service in the SHIIP program.

Congregation of the Year:

*Parkway United Church of Christ was honored for their support of the Shepherd’s Center,facilitating programs at their church, including financial support in their budget, and encouraging their members to volunteer.

Staff Transition:

*Linda Lewis, who has served the Shepherd’s Center for 17 years, including 15 years as Faith in Action director, was recognized for her service during which time the services in that program increased 200%. It was noted that Linda was “gradually retiring,” and was transitioning to part-time while also training Melissa Smith as the new director of Faith in Action.

When speaking with several of the volunteers after the luncheon, some of whom were newer volunteers and others that had many years of service, they all agreed that they got more out of their volunteer service than what they gave. Linda McKenzie, who is in her first year as a volunteer, said the reason she decided to volunteer in the Transportation program was “I love to drive, I’m kind of chatty, and it seemed like a good fit.” She continued, “People are so nice and appreciative! I have developed some good friendships, which makes me want to do more.”

Vicki Miller has volunteered with Card Connections for two years. She gets a list of older adults who are home-bound and sends them a card each month, including a birthday card on their birthdays. The cards, stamps and list are provided by the Shepherd’s Center. She said, “I know they appreciate it because they call the Shepherd’s Center to say how much they appreciate my cards. I never know what is going on with the people I send cards to, but I’m able to encourage them through cards.”

Another volunteer added, “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s doing God’s work.”

For information on volunteer opportunities at the Shepherd’s Center of Greater Winston-Salem, visit, call 336-748-0217, or email


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