by Megan Sadler
In January 2012, the Mecklenburg County Bar (the Bar) began commemorating our 100th anniversary and “celebrating the remarkable journey that has transformed the Mecklenburg County Bar from one lone lawyer in a colonial town to a community of 4,400+ professional members.”
In honor of the Bar's 100th anniversary and in commemoration of the role of lawyers in the larger community, part of this celebration has been the Bar’s designation of April 2012 as a month-long Celebration of Community Service. Thanks to the Bar’s focus on community service, I got off my tuckus and had the pleasure of volunteering at the Crisis Assistance Ministry Free Store yesterday evening for two hours.
As many of you know (and according to its website ), Crisis Assistance Ministry “serves the low-income citizens of Mecklenburg County, often classified as ‘the working poor’ who are facing financial emergencies and are struggling to meet life's basic needs.” One way the Free Store meets this need is by providing a place for those in need to “shop” for such items as clothing, towels, sheets, home décor, shoes and other accessories at NO cost (although a limit is typically placed on the number of items and frequency of monthly visits patrons can make). The Free Store allows its patrons to use their limited resources to focus on other basic necessities – such as food, housing and utilities.
Volunteers at the Free Store help sort donated items, re-stock the shelves and provide a retail-like atmosphere for its patrons through visually displaying available items and assisting patrons. The Free Store welcomes volunteers every day of the week and also has opportunities for drop-in volunteers or volunteer groups on Tuesday nights from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. It is one of the most accessible volunteer experiences I have ever had – and I plan to volunteer there at least one Tuesday a month!
As part of the first of what I hope will be another 100 years of Aprils filed with volunteering lawyers, I would encourage you to check the Free Store out and consider volunteering and donating to this wonderful organization.