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‘A multiplier of good’

Story by Alexa Massey

Mary Shepherd, volunteer coordinator and office manager at Piedmont Habitat for Humanity, has turned a passion for community service into a career of helping others, allowing her to give back all year round.

Shepherd, 29, grew up in Lynchburg before coming to Farmville to attend Longwood University, where she studied liberal studies with a minor in children’s literature. Although she now calls Farmville home, she originally didn’t picture herself staying in the area for long.

Shepherd, who is now married and expecting her first child in January of 2021, had her first interaction with Habitat during a build her senior year in college when she volunteered with a group to do some landscaping for a project.

Back then, she wasn’t very familiar with the organization, but she tremendously enjoyed the connections made during the project and learning more about Habitat’s mission and the people the organization serves.

A little over a year ago, Shepherd was contacted by Habitat’s Director of Resource, Sam Rabon. She had previously volunteered with the youth at Rabon’s church. He reached out to her to discuss an opening at the organization.

For a people person like Shepherd, it was a perfect fit.

As volunteer coordinator and office manager, Shepherd described her role at Habitat as very systematic before the COVID- 19 pandemic. Her days primarily consisted of meeting with leaders from various organizations, scheduling times for volunteers to come out and work on sites or at the ReStore in Farmville, and visiting projects to document work and thank volunteers.

She especially enjoys arranging for groups to come in and volunteer so that individuals feel they are making connections within their organization while also having an impact on the community.

Because of the pandemic, Shepherd has had to adjust many aspects of her work life. Habitat is now restricted in terms of what kind of volunteers it can utilize, so she has been spending more time helping out at the ReStore. The organization now works on only one home at a time and one repair at a time due to a limited access of volunteers and social distancing precautions. Shepherd gets a front row seat to watch all the good work unfold.

For Shepherd, Habitat doesn’t just build houses. The organization builds lasting relationships strengthened by volunteerism and giving back to the community, paving the way for a better future for all.

“It starts with one person inspiring another person, and it’s just being a multiplier of good,” she said.