News Article Details

Mental Health Society elects new officers

Richmond County Daily Journal - 7/22/2019

Jul. 21--HAMLET -- The Richmond County Mental Health Society this week elected its new officers and has a new chairperson for the first time in six years.

Carole Venable reached the end of her second term and has rotated out of her position as chairwoman of the Society, and Bob McDougald has been elected chairman in her place. On taking this new role, McDougald said Venable is a "hard act to follow."

The primary role of the Society is managing the Richmond County Soup Kitchen located at 10 West Hamlet Ave. in Hamlet.

"She's done a wonderful job and all the rest of us can do is try to follow in her footsteps," he said. "Our job as volunteers is just service -- to keep the level of service we've got and maybe improve on it some ... whoever needs service we'd like to provide it for them."

The other new officers elected this week are Abbie Covington, who has been named treasurer and John Hancock, now the secretary. Both Covington and Hancock are members of First Methodist Church of Hamlet, according to Venable, and McDougald is a member of Fellowship Methodist Church.

Venable said that volunteers from 20 churches, two nonprofits, one business and one family support the Soup Kitchen's operations. She will go back to volunteering with her church, Marks Creek Presbyterian Church, twice per month.

The Soup Kitchen serves about 65 meals per day, to those who are below the poverty line or homeless, according to Venable.

"It's a very needed thing," Venable said.

In her time as chairwoman of the Society, Venable said she was most proud of encouraging young people to be a part of the Soup Kitchen. Boy Scouts cleaned the basement, the Beta Club donated Christmas gifts, and when school was out the students helped serve meals.

"(We invited kids to help) so that our young people can get a feel for what the Soup Kitchen is about," Venable said.

Another highlight of her tenure, she said, was installing a commercial refrigerator and stove in the kitchen with the help of donations and volunteer Ernie Eason, who lead the upgrades.

Going forward, Venable said she hopes to see the Society get the funds to complete the renovations on the three unfinished apartments above the Soup Kitchen. When they obtained the building from the City of Hamlet, they renovated four apartments but ran out of money.

With those needed renovations, the Society could provide low-rent housing and generate more income for the Soup Kitchen, according to Venable.

Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]


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