Judy Irwin’s first journey to Open Door Mission was over 20 years ago. She came with her daughter to volunteer, but Pastor Bob Timberlake had to cancel their volunteer appointment due to illness. Judy made it a point to return with donations of food and clothing, but wanted to do more.
A few years later Wanda Meador, a friend from Bible Study Fellowship, asked Judy to join her as a volunteer at Open Door Mission. Judy, by then a retired special needs paraprofessional, was ready to help people in need. So in 2000, Judy became part of the Open Door Mission Women’s Auxiliary, a volunteer organization dedicated to tackling tasks and events that would otherwise cost Mission staff precious time and resources.
The Women’s Auxiliary members started encouraging their husbands to join them at their gatherings. As a result, the group’s name eventually changed to “Friends of the Mission.” By the fall of 2004, after his retirement as a sixth-grade teacher, Glenn joined Judy at Friends of the Mission and as a regular volunteer at Open Door Mission. “Men were still rare at Friends of the Mission when I began,” Glenn remembered with a chuckle. “But before long the men discovered how many ways they could help.”
Glenn’s years of organizing classrooms translated into a special knack for restocking household goods and clothing for display at the Timberlake Outreach Center, and in tending the Mission’s garden. Judy has enjoyed helping in the Mission kitchen and with events including the ever-popular Birthday Parties held each month for children at Lydia House, and Spa Days for female residents on the Mission campus.
The Irwins were thrilled as the Mission campus was transformed with new and refurbished buildings in the years surrounding 2010. But they’re even more excited about the lives they see transformed through Open Door Mission. “It’s always gratifying to hear the residents’ testimonies,” Judy said. Glenn added, “It’s rewarding to see the results after they’ve been fed spiritually, emotionally, and physically.”
Along the way, Judy and Glenn encouraged their friends Lenora and Ed Munger to join them as Friends of the Mission. Ed was a volunteer “fix-it man” for the Mission for some years until his passing, and Lenora is still an active member of Friends of the Mission. (And Wanda Meador, the Bible Study Fellowship friend who brought Judy back to the Mission campus in 2000? Today she’s President of Friends of the Mission.)
Just as Wanda invited Judy to join her, and the Irwins invited the Mungers to join them, the volunteers of Open Door Mission welcome you to join us: “You come too!”