Harry and Rita Looker of
The Mustard Seed
Every day there are a number of families in our area that go without the basic necessities of food and clothing. A large portion of these families receive assistance through one of the many organizations that work to provide for their essential needs. The Mustard Seed is one of these organizations. Housed in a building between a historic church and Southern States, The Mustard Seed swings open its doors at 11 o'clock most mornings and begins to serve those in need. The organization itself was created more than 40 years ago by Louise Martin, her husband and many other members of the Immaculate Conception Church.
As most charitable organizations, it could not survive without a number of people. The hard work and dedication of volunteers like husband and wife, Harry and Rita Looker, makes it all possible. With their almost daily participation, hundreds of donated food and clothing items are sorted and ready to be handed to whoever has a need. That is why they both are being recognized by The Miley Legal Group and WBOY TV as this month's Celebrating Volunteers award winner.
"We love what we do, and we see so much need in our community," stated Rita. "Knowing that we help those in our community is what we look forward to when we come here."
Offerings of fresh fruit and vegetables along with leftover bread from Food Lion, mix in with donated boxed and canned goods along with mounds of clothing to sort and hang. Each person that walks in their doors receives a designated amount of food depending on their family size and is given access racks of clothing if needed. One of the unique things that The Mustard Seed does is to help families out with birthday celebrations. With the leftover cakes from Food Lion and donated gifts from a local girls scout group, The Mustard Seed is able to help ensure that no child goes without a birthday celebration.
"We have something special here," said de facto volunteer organizer, Dolores Yoke. "Week after week we have the same people come through here. We get to know them, find out what is going on in their lives and learn what the needs are out there."
With such excellent community involvement, The Mustard Seed is inundated with items in their drop box every day. Although there is always a need for clothing, one of the most important aspects of the group is their food pantry.
"Those people you see walking around town pulling suitcases with them. Those are not full of clothes, more often than not, those suitcases are full with a week's worth of food. Most of the people we help don't drive and either walk or take the bus. They haul the items we give them in suitcases so they can get it back home."
Volunteers are a large part of The Mustard Seed; in fact, there is not much labor they pay for. Rita and Harry Looker provide a service to their community through their work. They dedicate their retirement years, those in which they should be relaxing and enjoying, to sorting and preparing donated items to distribute to those in need.
“I am always amazed at the amount of need I see in our area,” stated Marisa Matyola of WBOY. “What The Mustard Seed along with Rita and Harry accomplish is wonderful. They are facing a daunting task and are fighting it head on to the betterment of our community.”
"The Mustard Seed plays an essential part in supporting those in need," said Tim Miley, owner of The Miley Legal Group. "Supporting food pantries in our community and those that volunteer to undertake the thankless work of distributing items to those that need them is important. I appreciate all of the work that they do and encourage others to step forward to donate their time or needed items to such a worthy organization."
To learn more about The Mustard Seed, contact their office at (304)623-0859 or stop in on their location at 444 East Pike Street in Clarksburg. Donations needed include food (dry and canned), clothing, personal care items, cleaning supplies and baby items. As for most any group in our area, volunteers are always appreciated.
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The Celebrating Volunteers awardees receive public recognition for not only themselves but their organization. They also receive a $500 contribution to the organization they represent in their name. Marisa Matyola of WBOY TV and Tim Miley of The Miley Legal Group work together to select the awardees from the many nominations received from the public. The volunteer selected will have demonstrated their commitment to an organization through volunteerism and support.
“I am an avid supporter of volunteerism in our communities," Miley stated. "The Celebrating Volunteers program is a way that we can recognize the hard work and dedication of individuals across our region.”
We look forward to recognizing a number of worthy individuals while giving their organizations a part of the spotlight. The program will continue recognizing volunteers throughout the coming year. In order to nominate a volunteer to receive this award, please click on the Celebrating Volunteers logo.