Bringing work skills to volunteering

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 17, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – When Tabatha Welch worked as a Swing Shift Manager at a fast food restaurant, she had to acquire many deft skills.

Coordinating the workers; overseeing the merchandise; and using her creativity and patience to deal with customers were among the daily responsibilities.

She has now taken her proficiency in these areas to her volunteer work at the New Life Womens Center (NLWC) in LaPlace. The New Sarpy resident has been with the organization for two years.

NLWC assists victims of domestic violence, arranging for housing and food. They also manage a Thrift Store on Airline Highway that sells clothing and household items. This store is the main support for the housing units.

Many customers that visit the store were formerly assisted by NLWC, according to Welch. “They also return to offer donations,” she added.

The mother-of-one knows how important it is to go that one step further to help browsers pick out their selections. Choosing the correct size for children’s clothing; or picking age-appropriate toys are duties she gladly fulfills.

Welch also markets the Thrift Store by word-of-mouth through family, friends and acquaintances. “A lot of people have a misconception about thrift stores and their merchandise” she said. “If we wouldn’t use it ourselves; or put it in our homes; we won’t sell it.”

Displaying the items on the spacious selling floor is a fun thing for Welch and the other five volunteers at the Thrift Store. The many sections in the store are dusted and straightened up daily.

“We receive many comments on how bright and clean the store is,” said Welch. “People do enjoy shopping here, and when they leave they tell us to keep up the good work.”

One of the challenges of her job is when donations get backed up – but it’s a concern that the ladies take in stride. After all, the more merchandise they receive, the more they can sell.

Welch gives some basic advice to those wanting to get involved in the volunteer arena. “Try it out. It never hurts to try,” she said. “And if one place doesn’t work out, go to another. There’s always somewhere that needs volunteers.”

For more information on volunteering with the New Life Womens Center, call (985) 359-2398.