We lost a tireless worker this year, a man with a great attitude and a big heart. His name was Art Shoemaker, and he died on Valentine’s Day after a brief battle with lung cancer.
Art is missed by the Society of St. Andrew, as well as by lots of friends and by a number of organizations that he supported with his own hard work. For SoSA, he was an HRA – a Hunger Relief Advocate. For many years, he coordinated gleaning in and around Albany, Georgia. He was retired from a manufacturing company in town, and never lost the energy to work hard day-after-day. In addition to feeding the hungry with SoSA, Art managed the “Love Thy Neighbor” food bank at his church, Avalon United Methodist. He also volunteered in other projects at his church, went on mission trips, and volunteered with The Salvation Army, Life Line Ministries, and the Exchange Club.
At his funeral, some of the comments about Art were “faithful to the end,” “nothing he wouldn’t do for you,” and “never gave up.” He did have his limits, though. SoSA Regional Director Barbara Sayles remembers the time Art received a donation to SoSA that turned out to be a truckload of men’s bikini underwear. Barbara had to call Art and get the details so she could determine how to distribute the unusual donation. She says Art was noticeably uncomfortable describing, in the necessary detail, the sizes and shapes and colors of the underwear.
But mostly, for SoSA, Art provided fresh produce, great relations with volunteers, and a wonderful “can do” approach to both gleaning and life. We miss Art and his hard work. We’ll work hard to keep the gleaning going around Albany, Georgia. And maybe we can all try to have an attitude and a heart more like his.