Mary Anne Howard became a volunteer with the former Ark Shelter in the late 1970’s through membership with Christ Church. At the time, the Ark served homeless men with two male and two female volunteers.
Howard said the volunteers would welcome the men as if they were guests in their own homes. The guests’ favorite show to watch was Dallas. “We got to know them. They were regular people who has just gone through a difficult time,” she said. “One guy was a chef at a hotel and one guy was a truck driver who had lost his wife and children in a house fire.”
She considered it a gift to be able to lift their spirits by sitting and talking with them. “I would go home after my shift, take a shower, and think about how fortunate I was to be able to go to a home and take a shower.”
Howard eventually became a board member with what is now Urban Ministries of Wake County. She asked to become involved with the board to represent Christ Church. “I have always loved Urban Ministries,” she said. “It has been interesting and fun to get to see Urban Ministries evolve to provide more services.”
Howard said that she feels very fortunate to be a part of Urban Ministries’ impact. “The organization is where the rubber meets the road. “Urban Ministries is addressing the critical needs of poverty. People here work so hard and are so committed.”
When asked about the importance of giving to Urban Ministries and organizations of the like. “As a board member, we are here to help support the organization.”
Howard has built her legacy of giving. After a certain age, one can give through their IRA as a tax-deductible-donation. “It is a wonderful way to support an organization you care about,” she said. “You can be creative about ways to give.”