Monarch is an organization that supports developmentally disabled people who live in group homes and take part in the community by volunteering and working, and the volunteers are having an impact in Richmond County.
According to the organization, Monarch volunteered about 35,000 hours across the state, which equates to an economic impact of more than $660,000. The people Monarch supports with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Richmond County volunteered 17,700 of those hours. They spent time giving back to several organizations including Browder Park, Castlewood Park, East Rockingham Park and Hamlet City Park where they picked up trash; Meals on Wheels for which they deliver meals on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; Prayer Deliverance Ministries where they serve prepared meals/beverages to the homeless in the community and at Green Chapel Church where they straightened up the sanctuary by picking up hymnals and papers.
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, originally instituted by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, and Monarch aims to make people in the community aware that people with developmental disabilities are also part of the community.
“We do want people to see that we are people too,” said Pat McDonald, manager of Richmond County’s Monarch branch. “We are a part of this community. We are all different in some way. Get to know us. We have similar wants and needs. We are more alike than we are different.”
“Monarch, they are great. I can’t brag on them enough,” said Kim Parton, nutrition director of Meals on Wheels in Richmond County. “The volunteers come out and deliver meals and they are wonderful. The seniors enjoy seeing them and I think the volunteers feel like they are able to give back. They get so excited about it. What a wonderful way to help each other out. It’s a huge job for us. We can’t have a meal route without volunteers, so Monarch is majorly important and it does seniors good. It’s very uplifting. And the employees that drive the truck like the volunteers.”
“I am so proud of the wonderful job that both the staff and the people supported perform in the community through volunteerism,” said Melissa Hall, regional director for Richmond County. “Our fantastic staff has worked diligently to identify different volunteer opportunities throughout the community that fosters inclusion and builds social capital. The people supported love helping others and giving back to their community.”
Anthony Quick of Prayer Deliverance said it is moving to see the volunteers serving meals to the homeless.
“They help serve and they really help us out,” said Quick. “They are really faithful with it. They have done a terrific job and they really chip in. I think it gives them joy, because when they come here they are all smiles. I think (the homeless) enjoy it. I think it changes the whole atmosphere because the homeless are elated to see how willing the volunteers are to help. It brightens their day and lets them know people do care. It’s kind of moving.”
“I am proud that volunteerism has consistently been part of Monarch’s rich legacy,” said Peggy Terhune, Monarch’s chief executive officer. “It is proven that many people gain self worth from helping others. Because we owe a great deal of our success to individuals, partner agencies, businesses and communities where the people with disabilities that we support live and work, it is especially important for people who are given to, to pour back into the communities where they have received support. We are excited to give back in these very meaningful ways.”
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.