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Volunteers team up with Family Dollar to be 'Cupid's helpers' on Valentine's Day


Fate, and perhaps some divine intervention, combined on Wednesday with goodwill and volunteerism in the nick of time to facilitate the delivery of balloons and chocolates to nursing home residents for Valentine's Day.

West Plains Family Dollar Store Manager Mary Robnette had organized a means for customers to donate toward the purchase of Valentine treats to be delivered, but she had a big, unexpected problem that hit, literally, less than a week before the big day.

She usually uses her own vehicle to make the deliveries, but her car was out of commission after it struck a deer.

She was chatting with a customer, Judy Tuma, while ringing up her order. In the back of her mind, however, she was trying to work out how the deliveries were going to be made.

Tuma had a few things on her mind as well; her church had just purchased a van to transport its members, but it had to be outfitted to be compliant with transporting the elderly and disabled. That was near the end of last week.

During that casual conversation, a solution was hit upon. "Judy was stressed about the van, and I was stressed about getting the deliveries made. It just worked," Robnette said.

Tuma started making calls and a team of volunteers from several churches was formed, and met Wednesday morning at Family Dollar.

In all, 270 balloons and 33 boxes of chocolates were delivered to Brooke Haven Healthcare, NHC HealthCare, West Vue and Cedarhurst nursing homes by 13 volunteers using a bus and the van.

The volunteers were in part represented by the First Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church, and Spring Creek Church, which is nondenominational.

A prayer expressing thanks for the opportunity to serve the community and the mild, sunny weather, was given before the groups left to make the special delivery.