Not even a broken hip can slow down volunteering for Brenda Sadler of North Pole.
A while ago, she sent me a photo of a group of ladies who make up the 17 Mile Homemakers North Pole club, as they wrapped presents for a Love INC Adopt-A-Family. This is a group of cheerful, dedicated volunteers who think about others throughout the year — especially during the holidays.
But I needed more information, which is why this report is later than initially planned. Sadler finally called me back from the emergency room at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, as she waited to be treated for a broken hip. She fell while volunteering for another local agency.
“I’m just waiting,” she told me. “Might as well call you and be useful.”
So here’s what I can now share.
The 17 Mile Homemakers North Pole club is made up of a group of ladies between the ages of 45 and 94. They would love to add younger members, Sadler said, but many younger people are busy working and raising families.
Sadler, a former teacher, is also a regular volunteer at Love INC.
Love INC supports individuals and families in their time of need, by partnering with local churches and other community organizations.
Every holiday season, families in need are referred for extra support through an Adopt-A-Family program. It is through that program that 17 Mile Homemakers North Pole adopted a family. The volunteers pulled together hoodies for parents and children in the family, toys and socks for the children, and slippers for mom.
The gift package included a certificate for heating oil, a credit on the family’s electric bill, and a gift certificate from NAPA for the family vehicle.
“My mom used to be in Homemakers when we lived in Delaware,” Sadler said. “There used to be five or six clubs in the Fairbanks area. Now, we’re the only one.”
And by the way, Sadler is recovering from her injury and expects to return to volunteering as soon as she is able.
The Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition works on more than climate change. It also pays attention to helping residents transition to a sustainable economy that works for everyone, leaving fewer people down on their luck.
With that in mind, a new Interfaith Working Group organized and took steps to achieve that goal.
The Rev. Kristin Peters, organizer of that group, is a volunteer at Stone Soup Cafe and noticed that many clients needed warm winter gear, especially gloves. Stone Soup is a BreadLine program that provides hot meals to Fairbanks-area residents.
The group called out to local congregations for gently used gloves and boots, and monetary donations, and the response was immediate and substantial.
“We bought extra gloves, boots and hand warmers,” said Diane Preston, co-facilitator of the group. The items were delivered in mid-December.
According to Preston, a man who lives in California donated a substantial gift certificate for a local store, which provided 34 pairs of gloves.
“A few years back, he had been in Fairbanks and living out of his car in the Walmart parking lots and appreciated breakfast at Stone Soup,” she said. “Now, back on his feet with a good job, he wanted to give back.”
A woman who wanted to help, but had no extra cash to donate, whipped out her knitting needles and a stash of yarn and knit a dozen colorful warm hats for Stone Soup clients.
For more information on this group, visit fairbanksclimateaction.org and click on “working groups.”
Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris.