Students give a little back

Taryn Waddy moves furniture at RuraLove on Mica Road on Saturday, with brother Clay (wearing hat), friend Jack Moran and fellow high schooler Noah Wollenberger in background. Five middle and high school-aged students have been regular volunteers at the nonprofit thrift shop in recent months, helping the mostly older regular staff. 


School was only in session two days a week last year during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and the Waddy siblings were looking for something productive to do with their free time.

They found what they were looking for at RuraLove, the clothing and furniture thrift shop operated by the Goshen Baptist Association on Mica Road. For a year now, the students, ranging in age from seventh grade to high school senior, have given a big lift to fellow volunteers at the charity.

“The best part for me is the people you get to meet,” said Taryn Waddy, who is in seventh grade. “I love the stories that people tell.”

Waddy volunteers at RuraLove with older siblings Taylor and brother Clay, who brought a friend and fellow high school student, Jack Moran, with him last week. Clay, a high school senior, often delivers furniture to the homes of RuraLove clients. The others help pack up items at the cash register and help with the laborious process of setting items out on outdoor tables and packing them up when the shop closes.

“All of us are very ‘experienced,’” said Steve Duren, a Lake Anna resident and a RuraLove volunteer, referring to his age. “So we really enjoy having the young people out here.”  

Now that Louisa County Public Schools is back on a five-day-a-week schedule, the students come to RuraLove on the first Saturday of each month and when the schools are closed for asynchronous learning. 

It makes good sense, since the theme of the schools’ asynchronous learning days this year is to engage in community service.

“We do it because the need is there – we’re doing what God tells us to do,” said Keith Wollenberger, who manages the thrift store.

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