By Jennifer Meshanko for The Island Connection
Lowcountry native, Thelma Buggs, moved to New York to start her career shortly after graduating from Haut Gap High School. However, she never forgot her roots and is now giving back to the community where she grew up.
After graduation, Thelma relocated to upstate New York where a part-time job awaited her at IBM. She then gained a full-time position at the Castle Point VA Hospital, which allowed Thelma to attend secretary training school at night. After obtaining her secretarial certification, she worked for a funeral home for over 30 years, serving as the Executive Assistant to the owner. When the owner passed away, Thelma decided to work part-time as a bank teller. Within one year she was promoted to Operations Supervisor.
Thelma retired in 2008 and enjoys going to church, gardening and spending time with her family. She also enjoys helping other people.
“I have always enjoyed volunteer work,” says Thelma. She volunteers at her church by helping in the food pantry and feeding the homeless, mothers and children.
Thelma was first introduced to Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach when she attended a yoga class and expressed an interest in volunteering.
With Thelma’s past experience and skills, she learned various volunteer positions very quickly. Her primary volunteer role is a front desk receptionist, but she also volunteers in the food pantry, clothing room and during the senior food box distribution. “I enjoy every moment,” says Thelma.
“I jump to help out, because the staff and other volunteers are pleasant to work with. You can’t find a friendlier place.”
Thelma shared a memory about a day she was volunteering in the food pantry. A young lady and her children had come to OLMCO to receive assistance. “The client just stood in the doorway and started to cry,” Thelma recalls. “I just held her hand, and she started to compose herself. She told me that she had no food in her house for her children, and when she saw the food pantry she was overwhelmed. After she finished making her food selections, she couldn’t stop thanking me. Right then, I knew this is the place God wanted me to be to help out.”