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Volunteering takes Greencastle couple to Maine

November 23, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - A Greencastle couple is giving a year of their time to volunteer with the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn, Maine.

Roy and Verda Martin, both 62, have been residents of Greencastle for 13 years.

Since September, they have been living in Maine and volunteering at the food bank, which is an assignment of the Church of the Brethren Volunteer Service.

Roy and Verda found out about the need for volunteers in Maine through Trinity Fellowship Church of the Brethren in Waynesboro, Pa., which they attend.

"One of the pastors that knew my husband quite well approached us," Verda Martin said.

"I always wanted to get in and do some voluntary work after I retired," said Roy Martin, who took early retirement from his job at Copy Quik Printing and Graphics in Hagerstown to volunteer in Maine. "It's enjoyable when you can do something for the community."

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The food bank serves more than 800 nonprofit charities in Maine, including soup kitchens, food pantries, foster homes and day-care centers with low-income children, according to a press release from the Church of the Brethren Volunteer Service in Elgin, Ill.

Before signing up to volunteer, Roy and Verda took a trip to Auburn.

"We did make it up here before we made our decision and we felt we could make home up here for a while," Verda said.

But even before the volunteer project began, Roy and Verda went through a training program.

"We had a 10-day orientation," Verda said.

During the orientation, which was held Aug. 19 to 29 in New Windsor, Md., the Martins met the three teenagers with whom they would be living in Maine.

"We all live in a unit, so we're like the mom and pop in the unit," Verda said.

Also during the orientation, Roy and Verda studied topics of nonviolence, peacemaking, globalization and simple living, the press release said.

"We had to learn to cook and fend for ourselves to a certain degree," Verda said.

"We make sure (the teenagers) get properly fed, they have to keep their rooms clean, they have a schedule, they take turns cooking (and) everyone shares the household responsibilities," Roy said.

The Martins began their volunteer project in Maine right after Labor Day.

At the food bank, Verda helps sort groceries as they come in and helps the receptionist with incoming mail. Roy works in the refrigeration department and drives a truck to deliver to places that cannot get to the food bank.

"The Brethren people provide housing and transportation vehicles for us up here," Verda said.

"We get a small living fee," Roy said. "We don't have a lot of expenses - they pretty well take care of all your needs."

The Brethren Volunteer Service was established in 1948 to advocate justice, peacemaking, service of basic human needs and maintaining the integrity of creation, according to the press release. It is a program of the Church of the Brethren General Board.

"We're enjoying the program of helping those in need - that's the satisfaction we are getting from this," Verda Martin said.

"We're here for a one-year obligation and if they were to ask us to stay for another year, we would probably stay for another year," Roy Martin said.

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