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Help Somebody Spotlight: Allen Earehart, Volunteer, Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services

ConnectVA and The Community Foundation are excited to share another shining example of a great person doing great work in our community, through the Help Somebody Hall of Fame – meet, Allen Earehart, active volunteer and board member for Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services (GFCFS) ! Diane Reale, Director of Volunteer Resources for GFCFS, reached out to us to share more about the firm commitment and incredible impact Allen has in the Goochland community.

How does Allen demonstrate the spirit of the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame”?

Allen Earehart inspires others to do good through his vision and example. Allen’s vision for our community includes improving the lives of impoverished and at-risk individuals and families. He sets an example through his volunteer service at Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services in both hands-on roles and leadership positions. It’s not only the number of hours that Allen donates — over 400 in 2016 — it’s his selfless commitment to providing assistance to our neighbors in need that makes him someone who demonstrates the spirit of the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame.”

Allen is a frequent figure at the Food Pantry, which provides food for over 170 households on a weekly basis. Twice a week he carries bags of food for our clients, many of whom are elderly and/or disabled. One morning a week he does a “food run” to FeedMore, the regional food bank, and once a month he leads a team to pick up food donations from local grocery stores. Allen puts our clients first. He is always looking for ways to improve how we deliver services to our clients. When it’s raining, he pitches a tent for our clients to stay dry while waiting for their turn in the Food Pantry. He was also instrumental in moving the Food Pantry into a temporary location while a new building is being built. During the move, Allen helped ensure that clients did not miss one day of food distribution. Allen worked on a team to implement a plan to double the number of days the Food Pantry distributes food in the new space. If Allen sees a gap, he looks to fill it.

Food donations for the GFCFS Food Pantry come from local residents, grocery stores, neighborhoods, corporate groups, faith organizations, schools, FeedMore, and others.

When Allen noticed that Clothes Closet volunteers and staff members had to stand on a hard floor for long periods of time, he donated anti-fatigue mats. When he saw that more handicapped parking spots were needed for clients, he designed temporary handicapped spots for Food Pantry distribution days. When the temporary space needed equipment for cleaning and painting, Allen brought ladders, a shop vac and other tools. Allen selflessly helps so many somebodies: clients, fellow volunteers, and staff members. He would prefer to go unnoticed, but we believe he is a great candidate for the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame.”

 

What’s the impact of Allen’s generosity?

As a direct result of his leadership, Allen has done much to improve the lives of the disabled and needy in Goochland County. His impact can be seen at the construction site of the GFCFS new building, in the number of people who get food every week at the Food Pantry, and in the direction he provides as a Board Member.

Progress on the new GFCFS building as of August 2017. The new building will be located at 3001 River Road West and expected completion is winter 2017.

Allen is a member of the Building Committee and IT Committee. He meets with the Owner-Architect-Construction team on a weekly basis. He uses his expertise to advocate for best solutions for the new building where our clients will be able to have all 11 GFCFS programs under one roof. Currently, Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services is located in four separate buildings. In the Food Pantry, Allen fills many roles to ensure that the 170 families who come to Food Pantry every week have a selection of healthy food choices. His concern for our clients is paramount. He carries bags of food to our clients’ cars, picks up food from grocery stores, and makes sure that our clients have a safe and dignified experience at the Food Pantry.

A rendering of the new GFCFS building. The 20,000-square-foot facility that will provide space for 11 programs currently offered at three separate sites by GFCFS. It will combine critical assistance programs including medical and dental clinics, a food pantry, and an initiative to provide clothing to those in need. The existing main building at this location will be converted into emergency housing.

As a Board Member, Allen is on the Finance Committee. Keith Reynolds, Past Board President and current Board Member describes Allen as “an active board member whose enthusiasm and business perspective have been instrumental in making GFCFS’s vision of a ‘one stop shop’ for our clients possible.” If there is something that can be done to help our vulnerable neighbors, Allen is there to help.

 

About the Help Somebody Hall of Fame

The Help Somebody Hall of Fame is a platform to express gratitude for a person in the community who acts selflessly to improve the lives of others.  We want to share these stories in hope of inspiring more people in Greater Richmond to act with generosity.  There will be random drawing from those who are honored, and two honorees will select a nonprofit of their choice to receive $1000.  Read more about how to nominate someone here.

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