When the COVID-19 quarantine was set in place, Sue Hanstad, Director of Outreach and Guest Services, knew that there would be some who simply could not leave their homes and who would need help. She asked Jill Hemingway to oversee a ‘Shop and Drop’ delivery team to meet those needs.
Gene Stull was an unlikely volunteer, but went on line and signed up with his wife through the “Give Help” button on Ward’s website. Gene is not only in the ‘at risk’ age range, but had a health scare that lasted for months last year and was not expected to survive. “God let me live,” he said, “And you either trust God or you don’t. People need help, and I have to ask if I can help.”
Gene’s first delivery was First Responder thank you treats to a police station in Northville. As the needs and opportunities grew, he was impressed with the organization of the team and the simple way he could volunteer for various tasks.
“We did some shopping for mask materials, and dropped masks off. Then cleaning supplies were donated and we delivered those to a free walk-up clinic in Detroit. The work being done there was amazing, and I wish every Ward member would just stand outside and watch the people who are being helped.
We learned that every other Tuesday, groceries were being provided to CDC (Central Detroit Christian) and needed to be delivered to single moms, so we joined the team delivering to these young families. The moms are so very grateful.”
The 113 Shop and Drop Volunteers delivered masks materials to homebound sewing team members, and delivered completed masks to 49 different organizations and individuals. When donations of face shields, hand sanitizer, and surface cleaner were given to Ward, this team distributed 28,000 face shields, 750 gallons of hand sanitizer, and 1200 gallons of surface cleaner to organizations across southeast Michigan. The team members purchased and delivered at $1000 worth of diapers, wipes, cleaners, etc to CDC in Detroit, where team members such as Gene continue to be part of the Tuesday grocery delivery group.
Gene says, “I believe at my age, I’m not going to change the world. But I can help one person at a time. My wife and I believe in humble service, and God provides us with opportunities. I’m grateful to do them.”