Volunteers keep Catholic Charities running

Published in the Muskogee Phoenix: Saturday,  October 25, 2008, 12:41 am

When the needy seek out the Muskogee Catholic Charities, especially if it’s on a Tuesday, they are likely to meet volunteer Anna Greuel.

The charity mainly dispenses food, but they occasionally provide other kinds of help.

Greuel, 75, said she has been helping for approximately a decade.

“I started as a volunteer at least two years after my husband passed in 1996,” she said. “So it’s been about 10 years. Deacon Ed Falleur called me and Morris Youngblood out there to see about helping out. He tried to show us what to do on the computer, but that didn’t work out.”

The nature of what Muskogee Catholic Charities does has changed, but Greuel said she has adapted to the shifting responsibilities.

“When we first started, we were helping with rent, gas and groceries,” she said. “But we don’t do all those anymore. Mostly now, our services are just for groceries or emergencies, bus tickets and medicine.”

The routine varies if Falleur or the other volunteers have something that comes up.

“I do it every Tuesday,” she said. “And if he has a funeral to attend, I volunteer to help out. The two ladies who work on Wednesday; sometimes I switch out with them.”

Greuel has an efficient system worked out for responding to the needy who have qualified.

“I work with my sister, Helen Coppock,” she said. “We have a waiting area in the hallway, then they come in the doorway to where my sister and I are, one at a time. I take their I.D.; we require three types. We work good together. I usually do the paperwork and she does the grocery order.”

Although she is not paid, Greuel said she receives spiritual rewards for the works she does.

“I like to help people out and everything,” she said. “Some you wish you could do more for. I just really enjoy helping them out. It makes you feel good about helping somebody. Some are really grateful; it just makes you feel good.”

Falleur, who oversees the charities, said the important work they do depends on Greuel and all the others who help without compensation.

“I have about a half dozen volunteers,” he said. “I couldn’t do without them. I’ve had all kinds. Some of them help haul the food and some interview the clients. It’s a matter of being here faithfully whether someone shows up or not, but lately that hasn’t been a problem. We’ve had about 25 percent higher clients than last year.”

Falleur said people who volunteer must have certain personal qualities.

“The volunteer who works with the clients needs to be someone who really listens to what the person needs,” he said. “It’s a matter of being sensitive to other people’s situation.”

The charities are part of St. Joseph Catholic Church, and Falleur said his volunteers are mainly parishioners. That could be important in the future.

“One of these people might need to keep it going someday when I’m no longer able,” he said.

Original article

link: http://www.muskogeephoenix.com/archives/article_afc5295b-6312-5499-8152-180ba496bae8.html