I’ve worked with this publisher, Dan Curran, on several articles and several different publications. For this list of non profit organizations we aimed to include as many organizations as possible. To find the groups, we worked through several different resources, including talking to people in the community.

Then, I interviewed each of the organizations over phone and email. Additionally, I pulled some statistics on volunteerism — comparing the state with national averages.

Amherst County: Where We Value Our Volunteers & Their Work

Originally published in the Amherst County Guidebook

Volunteers are giving back, even if they don’t have a lot of money to donate. Their time has a real value to organizations, both large and small. When someone volunteers for a nonprofit group, they are worth about $24.14 per hour, according to an Independent Sector Study. Those efforts, at both a state and national level, have an important impact on communities.

National Statistics (2018)

  • 77.4 Million Americans Volunteered
  • 6.9 Billion Hours Served
  • $167 Billion Estimated Economic Value

Virginia Statistics (2017)

  • 2.2 Million Virginians Volunteered
  • 232 Million Hours Served
  • $5.5 Billion Estimated Economic Value

For nonprofit groups throughout Amherst, this volunteer support is critical. In fact, many of these beloved, local organizations rely on volunteers to do their good work. By working together, these people make this “Perfect Slice of Virginia” better all the time.

The following organizations are listed in alphabetical order…they are all important! If your organization was inadvertently left out, please accept our apology in advance and e-mail your groups’ information to Dan@AllAmericanPub.net.

Amherst Association for Family & Community Education

(434) 846-6255  Email: closertohim@aol.com Cordelia Greene, President

The Amherst Association for Family and Community Education strengthens individuals, families, and communities through continuing education, developing leadership, and community action. They are a grass roots, volunteer organization. Their county membership is also joined with other clubs in the state of Virginia, which is under the National Association for Family and Community Education, Inc. with international affiliates.

Today’s AAFCE members promote literacy and volunteering. Some of the projects undertaken include: sewing and assembling bags for rescued, human-trafficking individuals; donations to Neighbors Helping Neighbors; sponsoring a child for Operation Smile surgery; donations to Patrick Henry Plantation, local elementary school teachers and Heifer International; collecting and assembling backpacks for Back Packs for School Children; and donations to help local children attend local 4-H Camp. They have also awarded scholarships to Amherst County High School seniors, given monetary donations to various ACHS clubs, and given monetary donations to Amherst County Fire and Rescue departments. Their main project is sponsoring the Amherst County Apple Harvest Festival!

Amherst Cares

(434) 946-7624    Email: bethgamble3@comcast.net Beth Gamble, President; Marion Kanour, Vice President Betty Hopkins, Secretary; Mike Stinnett, Treasurer

Amherst Cares is a nonprofit collaborative effort of school, church, and community to provide food to identified, food insecure Amherst County Public School students. They feed so that students may succeed. With this assistance, teachers report improved academic performance, decrease in absenteeism, closer attention to instruction, and a decrease in behavior issues in some students being served by Amherst Cares. For the 2018-2019 school year, Amherst Cares provided 18,454 bags of food to ACPS students. They have provided approximately 55,362 meals for the school year. They begin the program the first week of school.

Web: ascension.dioswva.org/amherst-cares

Amherst County Habitat For Humanity Executive Director Debra Habel (standing, 3rd from left with several co-workers) was the 2019 recipient of the esteemed Harry L. Day Jr. Award, which honors the outstanding service of an individual to both the local business community and Amherst County Chamber of Commerce. The award was presented in May 2019 at the annual ACCC Awards Dinner.

Amherst County Habitat for Humanity

(434) 946-9596  Email: amherstcountyhabitat@gmail.com Barbara Towler, Board President; Angie Johnson,VicePresident; Matthew Cox, Treasurer; Noel De Palma, Secretary; Debra Babcock Habel, Executive Director

Board Members: Leon Parrish , John Gregory Brown, Sarah Ryan, John Batman, Joseph Campbell, John Grieser, Beatrice Booker, Tammy Knight, David Garrison and Stuart Jones.

Amherst County Habitat for Humanity offers a unique solution that reduces dependency on government programs and breaks the cycle of generational poverty.  They start by partnering with families. Their buyers complete 300 hours of sweat equity and homeownership and financial education classes before purchasing their homes. Buyers must have reliable income to be able to pay back the mortgage.

Then, they charge zero percent interest on mortgages. Amherst County Habitat for Humanity finances in-house, so families start building equity, confidence and stability from their first payment.

Also, they build with volunteer labor and some donated materials or discounts. This, coupled with their 0% mortgage, means affordability! When Habitat for Humanity sells homes to low-income families, lowering their monthly expenses and building wealth in equity over-time, families no longer need the food bank for groceries or housing vouchers for affordable housing. All of Amherst County Habitat for Humanity’s office and payroll expenses are covered by their incoming mortgage payments allowing all donations go 100% into their building program.

Web: amhersthabitat.org

Amherst County Lions Club

(434) 277-5616 Email: amherstcountylionsclub@hotmail.com Ron White, President; Ann White, Secretary Butch Hammett, Treasurer

Members: Robert Branham, Lyle Garrette, Ricky Brightwell, Robert Garrette, Sharon L. Cash, Mark Huffines, Carrie Davila, Bob Langstaff, Jose Davila, Tom Loftus, Robin Davies, Hunter Nash, Bonnie Ferguson, Ronnie Unrue, Jimmy Floyd, and Tom Wallace.

The Amherst County Lions Club was formed when the Madison Heights Lion Club and the Amherst Lions Club merged in 2011 in order to better serve Amherst County. The Lion’s Motto is “We Serve”. Lions International is the world’s largest service organization.

Their five major areas of emphasis are sight, hearing, hunger, diabetes, and pediatric cancer. Their club conducts the vision screenings in the Amherst County Schools for grades K, 3rd, 7th, and 10th grade students with a PediaVision Camera. Additionally, the club collects used eyeglasses and they recently purchased the machine to read the prescription or score the glasses. The glasses are then packed for distribution both in the U.S. and internationally.

Amherst County Lions Club conducts fundraisers throughout the year to support their donations to local fire departments, rescue squads, food banks, ball teams, and provide eyeglasses for those in need. New members are needed to continue the work of the club.

Web: amherstcountylionsclub.com

Amherst County Public Schools Education Foundation, Inc.

(434) 316-3900    Email: educationfoundation@amherst.k12.va.us Beverly Jones, Chairperson; Cynthia Hicks, Vice Chairperson Wanda Burley, Secretary; Dana Jackson, Treasurer Jenna Foster; Executive Director

Board Members: Ron Rasnake, Dr. William Wells (Asst. Superintendent of ACPS); Chelsey Tomlin, Adrienne Allen, Nat Marshall, Stephanie Moehlenkamp, Dr. Rob Arnold (Superintendent of ACPS).

Amherst County Public Schools Education Foundation, Inc. is dedicated to enhancing education for the students and teachers of Amherst County. The Foundation’s goal is to secure resources from the community by raising awareness of the importance of education and developing partnerships with local businesses. With these resources, the Foundation enriches many classrooms by providing items not traditionally funded within the annual school budget.

Each year, the Foundation is in need of corporate and individual sponsors to underwrite their three main fundraising events. The Winter Luncheon in February showcases the talents of their Amherst County students. The Captain’s Choice Golf Tournament in June kicks off the start of summer with a great lunch and a round of golf at one of Amherst’s most beautiful courses. The Back-to-School Raffle in late August provides a great selection of raffle items, cash prizes, and a delicious dinner. For more information about upcoming events and grants for teachers, please visit http://www.amherst.k12.va.us/edfoundation.

Web: amherst.k12.va.us/edfoundation

Amherst Glebe Arts Response (AGAR)

(434) 989-3215  Email: AmherstGlebeArts@gmail.com Lynn Kable, President; Lynn A. Hanson, Vice President Edward Kable, Secretary & Treasurer

Amherst Glebe Arts Response (AGAR) is an Amherst County non-profit arts and humanities organization. AGAR commissions, produces, and presents an annual Amherst Chamber music series by professional performers in local settings. In 2019-2020 AGAR inaugurates a monthly jazz series featuring local professional musicians with Second Stage Amherst and Baines Coffee. AGAR conducts a series of acrylic painting classes at Central Virginia Alliance Community Living Greater Lynchburg nutrition sites and at CENTRA/ Fairmont Crossing, Amherst. AGAR has produced 21 documentary films based on 133 interviews of teachers and students at Amherst County Schools, from 1915-1975.

The organization has presented history, video, theatre, poetry, and literature programs with Amherst County Museums, libraries, and Schools. AGAR’s board and administrative staff are volunteers. Current projects are funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Virginia Commission for the Arts, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation and CENTRA Foundation. Learn more at

Web: amherstglebeartsresponse.org

Amherst Mountain Biking Club

Email: info@amherstmountainbikingclub.com Alex Motley, President; Carter Massie, Vice President Jason Buendorf, Treasurer; Justin Ware, Secretary

Directors: Mike Hansen, Tim Ware, Drew Ramsey, Matt Ramsey and Jon Schjonning

Formed in 2018, the Amherst Mountain Biking Club is a non-profit organization with the goal of igniting a healthy lifestyle in the community; by means of mountain biking and trail development. AMBC hopes to provide that energy.

Amherst’s first bike park is currently underway! After working with the town, the club has secured land within the L. Barnes Brockman Industrial Park to build trails. By establishing destinations in the county for people to bike, AMBC provides opportunities for riders to immerse themselves in the area’s natural beauty and local economy.

By hosting all-skill level group rides, trail digs, and participating in public events; the club aims to continue building an all-inclusive, bike friendly community here in Amherst, VA.

To become involved, follow the club on Facebook and Instagram for up-to-date announcements and volunteer opportunities. To join their mailing list, see the email address above.

Web: facebook.com/AmherstMTBClub

Amherst Rotary Club

(434) 946-7657       Email: jgamble208@aol.com Jim Glynn, President & Treasurer; Bob Hoffmann, Secretary Jack Brandell, Foundation Chair; Ken Althouse, Membership Chair Peter Bryan, Past President; J. Michael Gamble, President-Elect

The Amherst Rotary Club seeks to make a difference in the quality of life in their community, as well as, cooperating with Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation to improve conditions and understanding throughout the world.

Their major focus is on education. This is the 46th year that they have provided scholarships to graduating high-school seniors, which now approaches $250,000. For the last several years, they have provided a world globe to every 2nd grader in the Amherst school system.

Membership in Rotary is by invitation only, but sometimes they are not aware of a potentially great Rotarian in the community! They seek active and retired business and professional persons, who live or work in Amherst, and who are interested in making a difference in the community.

Web: amherstrotary.org

Blue Ledge Meals on Wheels

(434) 942-4864  Email: coordinator@blueledge.org Mike Mozingo, President; Amanda Hall, Treasurer Kelli Hollowell, Secretary; Tammy Martin, Coordinator

Board Members: Nancy Banton, Food Service Coordinator; Joanna Harris, M.D., Client Liaison; Glen Mabrey & Brian Miles

Advisory Committee: Ashley Carter, Cindy Hart & Linda Zabloski

Blue Ledge Meals on Wheels supports the rural communities of Amherst County by delivering prepared meals to seniors and disabled individuals. By supplying food and daily contact with the outside world, they make it possible for homebound individuals to continue to lead independent lives and remain in their own homes. Their meals are prepared by local restaurants and churches. They receive no government funding, but instead draw support from individuals, businesses and religious and social organizations of the county. As a member of the Meals on Wheels Association of America, they embody the spirit of that organization’s Rural Initiative, striving to become an integral part of rural communities. The need is particularly great in Amherst County. To learn more, or volunteer, visit their website at blueledge.org.

Central Virginia Land Conservancy (CVaLC)

(434) 942-4320  Email: info@cvalc.org Wendy Kendrick, President; James Fulcher, Vice President Ed Foster, Treasurer; Susan McSwain, Secretary

Central Virginia Land Conservancy (CVaLC) serves Amherst, Nelson, Appomattox, Campbell, and Buckingham Counties, and the City of Lynchburg. An all-volunteer organization, CVaLC promotes stewardship and conservation of central Virginia’s forests, farmlands, waterways and other natural and historic resources.

CVaLC assists landowners in creating conservation easements — a legal, binding agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that limits subdivision of land. A landowner maintains ownership and may live on their land, sell or pass it along to heirs, and use it for farming and forestry. CVaLC partners with area specialists and other organizations to ensure that landowners have the tools and resources to make wise decisions regarding preservation of their private land. Thousands of acres in central Virginia are now protected with conservation easements, ensuring for everyone that central Virginia remains a beautiful place to live! For more information, visit www.cvalc.org.

Clifford Ruritan Club

(434) 826-1163 Email: cliffordruritan@gmail.com John Taylor, President; William Harlow, Vice-President J.J. Montgomery, Secretary & Treasurer

Clifford Ruritan Club is a civic service organization with the purpose of creating a better understanding between people through volunteering in the community. The mission of Clifford Ruritan Club and all Ruritan Clubs is improving communities and building a better America through “Fellowship, Goodwill, and Community Service.” Each Ruritan Club surveys the needs of its community and then works to meet those needs. At Clifford Ruritan, they host several community events and fundraisers such as Easter Sunrise Service and their Sorghum Festival in October, which is their biggest fundraiser. With the funds, they can help neighbors in need, give scholarships to high school seniors, donations to area fire and rescue departments and much more. Ruritans believe the most important benefit of membership is the opportunity to work in fellowship with people who have a desire to make their communities better places to live.

Website: Facebook.com/Clifford-Ruritan-Club

Elon Ruritan Club

(434) 401-3834  Email: dbtelon@me.com Barry Tucker, President; John Oblinger, Vice President Lynn Chaplin, Secretary; Jewel Newman, Treasurer

The Elon Ruritan Club was organized in 1968 as a civic organization which seeks to serve the community in ways that include support for local Fire and Rescue organizations, Hunters for the Hungry,  schools and scholarships for high school seniors. Members, men and women, young and old, enjoy fellowship at monthly meetings, cookouts, banquets, fundraisers and projects. Their overarching purpose is to create a better understanding among people and through volunteer community service, work toward making their community a better place in which to live and work. Club membership represents a cross-section of the community in which the club serves, and is not restrictive with regard to occupation, social position, or any other specific criteria. They’re always looking for additional members. They usually meet at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month. Find them on Facebook.com/ElonRuritanClub.

GFWC- Amherst Woman’s Club

(434) 946-1056 Dana Purcell, President

The Amherst Woman’s Club is a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs — an international organization dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service.

Members of the club support the areas of arts, conservation, education, home life, international outreach, and public issues.

The club partners with Amherst County Public Schools. They also provide scholarships to high school seniors, sponsor an essay contest for middle school students, collect Box Tops for Education, donate books to elementary students, and purchase a pictorial dictionary for every third-grade student in each of the six elementary schools in the county.

Since 1972 they have supported HOBI, Doctors Without Borders, CASA, Patrick Henry Family Services, local nursing homes, Canine Companions, YWCA, many food banks, and local rescue squads and fire department.

Membership is open to all women whose interests are consistent with the objectives of this club.

Website: FACEBOOK.com-Amherst VA Womans Club

Humane Society of Amherst County (HSAC)

318 Shelter Ln., Amherst (434) 946-2340 After hours: (434) 660-2504 Adoption Center Hours: Monday – Friday 10am-4pm Wednesday – 10 am-6pm; Saturday – 9am – 1pm Sunday – Closed

Dedicated to humane rescue, care and treatment of homeless animals with the goal of finding them a loving forever home. New pets come in on a daily basis. They welcome you to visit them at the shelter to see if they have what you are looking for.  Please consider adopting an older animal that may already be housebroken, spayed or neutered. For more information, visit AmherstAnimalShelter.org.

IRON Lives, Inc.

1-(800) 288-IRON   Email: iron@ironlives.com Derrick Brown, Chief Executive Officer/Founder Sabrina Marth, Chief Development & Operations Officer

Board of Directors: Joseph Tucker, Geoffrey Kershner, Monique Minnick, Thomas Brennan, Daryl Calfee, Charity Medina, Robert Scheppegrell, Marcus Thomas, MBA; Christopher Glover, PhD; Nathaniel Marshall, Alonzo Mathews, Laurie Gulluscio and Michael Elliott.

At IRON Lives, their vision is for Central Virginia to be a positive community with a skilled workforce full of engaged citizens and thriving families. Their mission is to be a bridge between students and the community by providing positive youth development, committed mentoring, and character-centered athletics.

They began in 2009 as a simple meeting with nine young men, led by Derrick Brown at Amherst County High School. The purpose was to build a community of students who were dedicated to bettering themselves and each other. From nine young men to over 300 young men and young women, the impact of IRON is still significant in the Central Virginia area. Middle school and high school students participate in positive youth development programming, positive mentoring, and character-centered athletics.

Website: www.ironlives.com

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (Amherst Chapter)

434-929-4128 Email: ellendishdar@gmail.com Regent Ellen Pettyjohn

The Amherst DAR is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American’s history and securing America’s future through better education.  We partner with local historic preservation societies, schools and veterans organizations to fulfill our motto of service to God, Home and Country. Constitution Day/Week is observed beginning September 17th.  On 11-11, at 11 AM we hold an annual Veterans Day Service and (free) Luncheon at Ascension Episcopal Church. Other community and student events occur during the year. We meet monthly from September to May, on either the 2rd Tuesday at 12:30 PM or 2nd Saturday at 10:30 AM, the location varies. All women, 18 years of age, are welcome to join us with proof of ancestors in the struggle for American independence. Regular Membership Dues: $60, $18 for Associate. Contact Membership Chairman Anne Neff (arneff14@gmail.com) or Registrar Amy Whitaker (amywhit63@gmail.com) for membership questions.  Additional information: vadar.org under Chapters, District III and Amherst.

Website: Vadar.org/Chapters, District III, Amherst

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

(434) 226-0019   Email: onefriend@comcast.net Garry L. Friend, President; Charles Foster, Treasurer Mike Ogden, Secretary; David Bryant, Director Patsy Campbell, Director; Rev. Katharine B Chase, Director Sonny Harvey, Director; Kelly Urbani, Director


Provide nutritious meals to the hungry of Amherst County

Educate the citizens of Amherst County on the needs of the hungry

Advocate for citizens in need

Promote self-sufficiency and improve quality of life for those in need.

Understand the challenges of poverty

Neighbors Helping Neighbors runs two food kitchens, open every Wednesday at Madison Heights Baptist Church 10:50am to 12:20 pm and Thursday at Ascension Church in Amherst 10:50 am – 12:20 pm. Both are sit-down meals.

They have a Food Warehouse Distribution (Client Choice) where clients come and shop for their groceries once a month. Open First & Third Saturday each month at 151 Mitchel Bell Road Madison Heights from 9:00am – to 12:00 noon. Read a summary of their activities online at nhnamherst.org/ with a video.

Pedlar Ruritan Club

Email: craig.terwilliger@gmail.com

The Pedlar Ruritan Club has a longstanding history in Western Amherst County. The club’s primary goal is to provide opportunities for members of the community to engage with one another. They host regular picnics and other community events such as their annual trick-or-treat and Christmas party. They also provide scholarship opportunities for young residents of the area who wish to pursue higher education opportunities. They meet on the second Monday of each month at New Prospect Baptist Church in Pleasant View at 7:00 PM. All are invited to attend their meetings. Look for their page on Facebook at facebook.com/Pedlar-Ruritan-Club.

Second Stage Amherst

(434) 941-0997  Email: contact@secondstageamherst.org Suny Monk, Board President; Michael Dowell, Treasurer Penny Hawes, Operations Manager

Board Members: Chris Badgett, David Butcher, Monica Dean, Hazel Diggs, Cooke Harvey, John Patteson, Krista Templeton and Crystal Ungar

Their Mission is to inspire creativity and community by providing a place where the cultural, civic and economic vitality of Amherst County is encouraged.

Second Stage Amherst is a non-profit community cultural center housed in the former Amherst Baptist Church building on 2nd Street. They offer a gathering place for the community to enjoy music, movies, family events and more. From May – October, they host the Market @ Second Stage – a farmers market offering fresh, locally grown and produced fruits, vegetables, meats, and artisanal gifts.

Second Stage is home to several small businesses including artists, a massage therapist, a yoga studio, a jewelry designer and more. Their public rooms are available for rent for special occasions.

They are excited to be welcoming Amherst’s first coffee shop, Baine’s Amherst, in late summer 2019, making Second Stage an even more important part of the community. For more information, visit secondstageamherst.org.

Village Garden Club of Amherst

(434) 922-7094 Email: keeshbo@verizon.net Colleen Martinez, President; Sue Piepho and Anne Neff, 1st VP

Joyce Hoffman and Yukiko Byrum, 2nd VP Nina Garrett, Recording Secretary; Linda Gurtler, Treasurer Yukiko Byrum, Historian; Carole Humphreys and Ruth Ann Warner, Chaplain; Octavia Starbuck, Corresponding Secretary

Services: Encourages conservation, civic improvement, maintains gardens at the Town of Amherst Traffic Circle, Amherst County Museum, Village Garden Club Memorial Park, Town Hall, Main Street flower boxes and Amherst Post Office, decorates all of the above for holidays, donate funds at Christmas to Meals on Wheels, and donate coats, scarves, and money to Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Meetings at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. Fees: Membership Dues annually

Website: Facebook.com/Villagegardenclub/

Other Community Organizations

Amherst Art Society

(434) 238-8452  Email: amherstvaartsociety@yahoo.com Shannon Proffitt, President

The Monroe Community Center is the home of the Amherst Virginia Art Society. It offers a studio, classroom, and gallery where artists and members of varying skill levels share, create, and critique. Here some enjoy the company of other artists to help inspire and develop new art techniques at the weekly “Art Tuesday” between 10:00 a.m. and noon from September through May. Additionally, the studio is open to members five days a week from 8:30 to 5:00. Membership benefits include workshops in drawing, painting, lettering, alcohol inks, acrylic pouring, mosaics, encaustic, Zen drawing, art journaling, mono-printing and mixed media. Currently exhibit locations are at the Amherst Library, Madison Heights Library, Rehab Associates of Virginia, and the studio gallery. For additional information, visit AmherstVaArtSociety.com

Save Our Animals Rescue  (S.O.A.R.)

(434) 907-9702  E-mail: info@soarva.org Amy L. Napior, Executive Director

An organization that seeks to help injured and sick animals in our community, Save Our Animal Rescues (SOAR) was formed to help animals in acute need of critical medical or surgical care. They seek to primarily help those animals in rescue situations, but also those belonging to individuals who prove financial need. They are currently limiting their services to Amherst County with hopes of expanding to other counties in the near future.

They ask that you refer those animal cases which meet our criteria for financial assistance. Applications are available at veterinarian offices located in Amherst County and their local shelter. Once approved, the requested funds are paid directly to the medical provider. Since their start in August 2011, they have provided assistance to over 125 animals (dogs, cats, a rabbit and even a parrot!) – all referred to them from local rescues and veterinarians.

Website: SoarVA.org

Amherst County Churches Also Improve the Community

Coming alongside Amherst non-profit organizations are the local churches. Their activities mirror the work of religious groups across the country. Overall, churches take a role in addressing poverty, unemployment, educational issues in addition to serving youth, families and the elderly. According to a recent poll by Barna Group, a research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture, Americans perceive the impact of churches in several areas.

  • 29% identify addressing poverty and helping the poor as a way that churches help the community
  • 12% see the church as serving youth
  • 13% appreciate the church helping the elderly
  • 10% believe churches should assist through support groups or recovery programs
  • 7% think churches can assist in terms of financial, career-related or other educational programs

A study by The Pew Research Center revealed that about 60% of Americans believe churches are a positive influence. The study indicated “Among U.S. adults who are Christian, three-in-ten have a high level of congregational involvement, while 58% have a medium level and 12% fall into the low category.” Similar to secular organizations, churches rely on the activities of their members and volunteers to do their good work. Their faith-driven energy is the force behind many ameliorating initiatives.

A directory of Amherst County churches is on page 50.