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Meldrim group lends a few helping hands
Rodgers named volunteer of the year
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During its first full year, the Meldrim Community Service Program provided 1,603 hours to help seniors and disabled members of the community, according to Stephen Newsome, president of the Meldrim Civic Club.

Newsome began the program in the summer of 2006 in honor of his grandmother.

“We go around and do anything that seniors need,” he said.

He said this includes yard work, fixing handicap ramps and some painting.

“My grandparents raised me, so I’ve always seen what seniors go through,” Newsome said. “I see them going without and not being able to get things done.”

He said he approached the county to have the program included as community service through the court system.

Newsome said Judge Ronnie Thompson and Effingham County Chief Probation Officer David Zittrauer provided a lot of support for the program, and the workers from the program contributed 893 hours during the year.

Newsome said Steve Rodgers will be awarded volunteer of the year.

“He saw what a difference it made,” Newsome said. “He saw the need for it as well, and has been a part ever since.”

Rodgers volunteered more than 150 hours during the year.

“I’ve known Stephen for a long time and heard him talk about how appreciative the people are,” said Rodgers, who began volunteering to help Newsome.

Rodgers said there is always something that can be done.

He found out on Dec. 30 that he was the volunteer of the year.

“I didn’t know what to think,” Rodgers said. “It made me feel appreciated for all that I’ve done with (Newsome).”

He said the most memorable experience volunteering during the year was when the program did yard work for Ms. Garvin.

“Ms. Garvin hadn’t been out of her house. She came out and sat on her porch and enjoyed her yard after we cleaned it up,” Rodgers said.

He said you don’t know how much the work is appreciated until you do it and sit down with someone.

“You’ve made another friend,” Rodgers said.

Newsome said those in the community who receive the services are always appreciative.

“You get hugs and they get teary eyed,” he said. “I can’t describe that. It’s a good feeling.

“It doesn’t have to cost money, a little bit of time makes a difference. It’s amazing what two hours will do.”

Newsome said that when there are several volunteers working on a project they will take turns visiting on the porch with the person for whom the work is being done.

“They’re so nice,” Newsome said. He said while there is no charge for any work, “we do get chocolate cake and pecan pie.

“It would be great if you could really work for pie,” he said.

The Meldrim Community Service Program is always looking for volunteers. Those interested in helping can contact Stephen Newsome at 661-2248 or find more information on the program at