NEWARK — Like so many dedicated volunteers, Marge Lash not only fills a number of valuable roles for Catholic Charities of Wayne County, she downright enjoys what she does.
“I never go into the agency when I’m not learning something new,” said Lash, of Phelps, a retired research nurse from the University of Rochester School of Nursing. “I love the way they work at Catholic Charities. They are friendly to everyone and when I walk in there, it’s just like walking into a home.
“People are so kind and so good, and we have a lot of fun. It’s a wonderful, wonderful place to volunteer.”
Wonderful, in fact, is a word that Executive Director Peter Dohr uses to describe Marge.
“Marge is very generous,” he said. “She is not a bragging person in any way so doesn’t necessarily seek out the opportunity to shine a positive light on herself, but we’re grateful to be able to recognize her because she has volunteered of her time and the energy in her heart for so long.”
Catholic Charities of Wayne County is under the larger umbrella of the Diocese of Rochester, which is the fourth-largest Catholic Charities organization in the country, so there is a lot to do out of the busy Newark office.
“We have a number of programs that we operate here in Wayne County,” Dohr said. “The majority of the work that we do is of a counseling nature where we have masters-level family counselors and social workers working with children that are struggling, working families that are having tough times and relationship problems, all in an effort of trying to be of good service to our local families.
“In addition to being a board member, Marge comes into the office and assists with the paperwork aspect. She spends many hours assisting our team here putting a lot of that paperwork together and having client folders together and ready for our counselors so they can spend their time working with the families and individuals.”
Lash has been volunteering with Catholic Charities for about eight or nine years, beginning when the previous director asked for help stuffing envelopes. She thought there would be a couple of hundred, so she agreed. There were over 1,000, she says with a laugh. However, she was hooked on the agency because of all its good deeds, including the food pantry that she has helped staff and the Community Clothing Center in Wolcott that distributes over 30,000 items of clothing a year.
An example of the agency’s goodness: “One of the things that happened one time was that somebody wasn’t on the ball as far as the school vacation. They were going to be closed but there are kids with backpacks that are filled with food that they take home. Somehow the people that were supplying the food for them for the vacation dropped the ball, and the counselors and staff at Catholic Charities made sure those kids did not go hungry. They bought different supplies and food so those kids never missed a meal.”
That, she said, “is what keeps a person coming back to volunteer.”