As they sit across from me, I am introduced to an engaging couple by the name of Doug and Jan Love. Getting the opportunity to hear about their time at The Caring Place was a fascinating experience.
Both Doug and Jan explain that they came across The Caring Place by word of mouth. Upon hearing good things from their friends, they decided to see what volunteering here was like and have been here ever since!
Jan has been at The Caring Place for 9 years. She started out volunteering in Programs and Services in Case Management. Describing it as a “broadening” experience, she recalls how fulfilling it was helping families in crisis during her early years at The Caring Place. She laughs as she remembers a quote she heard from her volunteer training: “This is The Caring Place; we care about everybody. This is not The Grumpy Place, so don’t have your grumpy face on!” It’s obvious Jan embodies that advice as she speaks fondly about her time as a Case Manager. She tells me the experience that stands out the most was having the opportunity to assist a music student grow her career with The Caring Place’s resources. As TCP fulfilled her basic needs, Jan was able to see this young woman find financial stability, giving her the freedom to pursue music professionally. Nowadays, you’ll see Jane on the retail side of things pricing games and puzzles as well. It’s definitely different from her work in Programs & Services, but she describes the simplicity of working with donations as a gratifying way to occupy herself. Additionally, Jan still works in Programs & Services as an Eligibility Specialist by directly assisting clients.
Since both Jan and Doug work with item donations, they get the opportunity to encounter interesting items that will later be for sale. In fact, Jan tells me about a “lovely” bicycle she bought from The Caring Place, though Doug jokes about her not using it enough. Similarly, Doug also enjoys the pieces he finds, both in the donation drive-thru and in the electronics area. Like many other volunteers, Jan and Doug encounter items they later shop around for once such items are on the store floor.
After watching Jan enjoy being a TCP volunteer for several years, Doug started volunteering at The Caring Place regularly. He’s been with The Caring Place for 5 years. After starting in Donations, he was later recruited to work with electronic items. In the electronics department, he specializes in testing out the donated stereo equipment. Though he humbly denies being an expert with them, he explains how he tests stereos and their functions before they’re sold. As someone who works with the donated items, he says one of his favorite things about being at The Caring Place is that “you never know what you’re going to find.” From time to time, TCP processes one-of-a-kind donations like vintage stereo machines or high-end typewriters.
In the years they’ve volunteered, Jan and Doug note how The Caring Place has improved as the volunteers from different shifts have become more connected. They relate how volunteers who work at different times have become more collaborative with their work in their respective departments. When asked the best part about being at The Caring Place, they both say “the people,” who truly represent the “caring” nature that makes The Caring Place unique. And with them being such a charming and funny couple, I can tell their coworkers would only reciprocate the compliment.
It was a pleasure getting to know Jan and Doug. We thank them for their years of service at The Caring Place, and hope for many more to come!