By Jennifer Meshanko for The Island Connection
Long-time volunteer, Judy Manzi, has been serving in Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach’s food pantry and clothing room for over 10 years. She has touched so many lives over the years with her smile and kind words. Growing up in Stamford, Connecticut, Judy started volunteering at a nursing home during high school. She went on to attend Southern Connecticut State College, where she met her husband, John. They have a son, David, a daughter, Susan, and five grandchildren. In 1973, Judy and her family moved to Charleston. She taught kindergarten and child development at Pepperhill Elementary School until she retired in 2000.
Judy first got involved with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach when a friend, who was already volunteering in the clothing room, told her the organization was in need of volunteers.
“I was looking for some way to give back and felt this was something I would like to do,” says Judy. She believes small things can make a difference in another person’s life. “I greet all clients with a smile and listen to the many struggles they are going through.”
Judy recalls how she helped one couple in need. I had a young couple come in for food who were living in their car. I was able to find many food items that didn’t need refrigeration. I also listened to their stories of hardship. They were so grateful, and they continued to thank me with tears in their eyes. Their story touched my heart. In a small way I did impact their lives.
After every volunteer shift, Judy leaves OLMCO “feeling that I have made a difference.” Judy urges people to get involved to make their impact in the community. “They say the happiest people are those that give rather than receive.”
Volunteer Spotlight is a column in the Island Connection highlighting members of the community who give their time to help others. If you know of a volunteer who deserves the spotlight email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ d like to get involved with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach email email@example.com.