Lois Schmelzle: Twenty Years of Volunteering

In 2003, a friend at Vriendschap Village suggested to Lois Schmelzle, then 68, that she might enjoy volunteering at The Work of Our Hands. Lois tried it, and she has been volunteering with us ever since.

Lois knew that running a cash register was not for her, so she chose to work in the back room, unpacking products and putting on price tags. “I love seeing all the new products and how different they are,” she said. “If they were made in the United States, you wouldn’t be able to afford them because they are so intricately made. They just amaze me.”

She has seen shifts in the product line over the past two decades. The store now carries less jewelry and more food products. And the 2013 move to a larger location at 627 Franklin Street allowed the store to carry many more products. Among her favorite products are the unusual nativities and handbags.

Lois also volunteers in her church nursery. “I get my baby fix there,” she said. Until a few months ago, she also volunteered at the Pella Community Food Shelf.

Before retirement, Lois was an operating room nurse and then a nurse anesthetist at the VA Hospital in St Louis. She grew up near Sully, Iowa, moved to Missouri in 1965, and then returned to Pella in February 2003. A few months later she began volunteering at The Work of Our Hands.

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