Great-grandmother helps out at City Mission

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Retirement and great-grandmotherhood is not keeping Janet Gore confined to her home.

For the past five years, the South Point resident has been a mainstay at the Ironton City Welfare Mission, starting her work in the toy room at Christmas and eventually moving to the kitchen to serve the noon meal and prepare food boxes for families.

If she weren't volunteering, Gore, who became a widow in 1990, said a good portion of her time would be idle. Volunteering has also helped her grow spiritually. Her four children, 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren are supportive of her work.

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"They think granny's doing something with her life, and she ain't sitting around at home," she said.

Gore retired as an aide at Heartland of Riverview in 1993, and her mother died one year later. She then began attending church at the city mission where both she and her older sister, Evelyn Wagner, both realized how badly volunteers were needed, she said. Her first job was being the "battery lady" for the mission's Christmas toy distribution. She would place batteries in toys that needed them and made sure they worked. Ones that did not work were put outside for anyone who wanted them. Even though they did not work, many people still took those toys home.

Later, Gore began working in the kitchen because the cooks at the time were getting older, and when they were gone, no volunteers would be left. Those cooks, she said, have since passed on. Wagner and Bertie Friend, a friend of Gore's both volunteer there, but have not been able to do it for a while because of personal or family illness.

"Pastor Jim and Mary (Cremeans, mission director and his wife) are good people," she said. "They won't turn anyone away, whether it be utility bills, rent, bus tickets or house payments."

This Thanksgiving, Gore will cook dinner for her family while others at the mission prepare Thanksgiving dinner for those less fortunate. The same will go for Christmas. On these holidays, Gore said she makes sure to tell her family about the ones she helps at the mission.

"I tell all my family that there's lots of people who don't have anything," she said.

Gore said she will continue to volunteer as long as she is able. She encouraged others who may have time on their hands to find something to do to help their communities, whether it be helping at a community center or local church.