When Carrie Thompson’s husband of 48 years died the day after Christmas in 2007, she took a year before doing anything to fill the time she’d devoted to his care and her job.
“When Lloyd died,” she said, “I was lost for a while. Then my daughter (Jennifer) said I had to do something because I was driving her crazy!” She laughs remembering the gentle nudge.
In January 2009, she started volunteering at Avenues for Women, a nonprofit pregnancy resource center and state-licensed medical clinic that offers services to those with unplanned pregnancies. Avenues for Women’s mission is to empower individuals to make educated choices about their lifestyles and pregnancy-related issues.
On the afternoon she volunteers each week, Thompson sits at the front desk, answers the phone, registers women who come into the office and takes them back to a consultation room.
Often, they’re scared, concerned and don’t know where to turn. “We just try to love them,” she said. “I would encourage any women with questions about pregnancy to contact us. We also offer free pregnancy tests.”
There are 25 to 30 volunteers at Avenues, which is located at 73 C. Michael Davenport Blvd, Suite 5. Sherri Scott is the director and office hours are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
“It’s really grown across the years; a lot of young women come in and talk,” Thompson added.
Avenues, which started in a small building behind Capital City Christian Church and through the years has grown to its present location, doesn’t receive any government funding, meaning it relies on fundraisers, donations, a banquet and its Baby Bottles program.
“Churches distribute baby bottles that are like piggy banks on Mother’s Day,” she said. “Adults and children fill the bottles with spare change then return them to the church on Father’s Day.”
Thompson says that while Avenues is a blessing to its clients, the folks there have been an equal blessing to her. “They just loved me while I was recovering from Lloyd’s death. I feel like I can talk to anyone there.
“I feel so fortunate God dropped me into Avenues. They are fine Christian people.”
In addition to her volunteer time at Avenues for Women, Thompson puts her 25 years of work experience at First Federal to use serving as treasurer for Capital City Christian Church.
“I’ve been doing that for the last four or five years,” she said. “I just volunteer in whatever way I’m needed there, in addition to acting as treasurer.”
Thompson says it’s important for people to remain active and stay involved after retirement or a life trauma such as, in her situation, the death of a loved one.
“It would be so easy just to sit at home,” said the 76-year-old, “and I know that a lot of people do.” She did for a year but feels blessed others prodded her to do more.
Thompson feels, as do most volunteers, that in giving she receives much more.