A life­time vol­un­teer

Into her 70’s, Eve­lyn Rum­bolt is help­ing out around town in plenty of ways

Northern Pen - - EDITORIAL - BY STEPHEN ROBERTS

ST. AN­THONY, NL —Vol­un­teer­ing and help­ing around town has al­ways been some­thing Eve­lyn Rum­bolt has done – it was just nat­u­rally in the blood for her, she says.

Now at the age of 75, four years re­moved from a stroke that left her left hand im­mo­bile for a time, the St. An­thony woman is as ac­tive as ever.

Cur­rently, Rum­bolt is pres­i­dent of the St. An­thony Angli­can Church Women (ACW) and pres­i­dent of the Hos­pi­tal Aux­il­iary in St. An­thony.

Rum­bolt also vol­un­teers with the food bank.

She knits, cooks, picks bakeap­ples, and does plenty more to lend a help­ing hand.

Eve­lyn has vol­un­teered her en­tire life.

She re­calls grow­ing up in Mary’s Har­bour, Labrador and first join­ing the ACW in that town when she was just about 14-years-old.

When she and her hus­band Ross moved to the North­ern Penin­sula from Mary’s Har­bour 56 years ago, she con­tin­ued vol­un­teer­ing.

Ross was a teacher at the time and would later be­come an Angli­can min­is­ter.

Both of them were there­fore very com­mu­nity-ori­ented peo­ple.

She first got in­volved with the Hos­pi­tal Aux­il­iary a few years af­ter mov­ing.

She says she started vol­un­teer­ing with her next-door neigh­bours in St. An­thony.

Since then, not only has she vol­un­teered with the ACW, hos­pi­tal aux­il­iary, and food bank, but she’s also pre­vi­ously vol­un­teered with the air cadets, the Li­onesses, and con­tin­ues to vol­un­teer at the school.

“You got to do some­thing or I’d be bored,” Eve­lyn says.

Even up to this very day, she’s knit­ting dif­fer­ent things for the gift shop op­er­ated by the Hos­pi­tal Aux­il­iary and to raise money for the ACW.

On Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, she was seated in her liv­ing room rock­ing share, knit­ting back on her side, wool in her lap, and knit­ting nee­dles in her hand.

She was work­ing on knit­ting a “worry doll”, which is some­thing she has learnt to do fairly re­cently.

“Got a pat­tern one of my friend’s brought to me, from down the United States some­where,” Eve­lyn says. “So that’s what I’m go­ing to do now.”

A lit­tle prayer goes with each of th­ese dolls.

She finds other ways to vol­un­teer too.

Ear­lier this sum­mer, she picked an im­pres­sive seven gal­lons of bakeap­ples that will be used in cheese­cakes and jams for ACW and Hos­pi­tal Aux­il­iary bake sales. That’s af­ter pick­ing 11 gal­lons last year.

She says the cheese­cakes are par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar.

All the funds raised from the sales goes to­wards the hos­pi­tal and the church.

For the last 10-15 years, Eve­lyn has been or­ga­niz­ing the Gren­fell Christ­mas card sale for the hos­pi­tal aux­il­iary ev­ery year as well. A lot of the cards in­clude sketches of Dr. Wil­fred Gren­fell him­self.

She also vol­un­teers at the food bank once ev­ery three weeks, serv­ing food to those around who are in need of a meal. Help­ing peo­ple “makes it feel like you’re worth­while,” she says.

How­ever, do­ing all this hasn’t nec­es­sar­ily come easy for Eve­lyn. Her hus­band passed away 12 years ago and she suf­fered a stroke in 2013.

Af­ter the stroke, she was scared she wouldn’t be able to get back to knit­ting. Her fin­gers were locked to­gether on her left hand.

So she went through re­hab at the Miller Cen­tre in St. John’s and grad­u­ally learnt to grasp the nee­dles again.

Af­ter about a year, she was knit­ting like nor­mal.

“Now I’m back to knit­ting the finest kind of wool,” she says.

And she’s hop­ing to go at it and help in what­ever way pos­si­ble for as long as she can.

STEPHEN ROBERTS/THE NORTH­ERN PEN PHOTO

Eve­lyn Rum­bolt finds plenty of ways to vol­un­teer from the com­fort of her own home. Most af­ter­noons, she has her knit­ting nee­dles in hand, work­ing on mak­ing some­thing to sell to raise money for the Angli­can Church Women or the Hos­pi­tal Aux­il­iary in St. An­thony. The funds from her prod­ucts al­ways go to­wards the hos­pi­tal or the church.

STEPHEN ROBERTS/THE NORTH­ERN PEN

Eve­lyn Rum­bolt shows off one of the “worry dolls” she re­cently knit­ted.

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