Volunteer is retired but works harder than ever at nonprofit
Saturday, May. 03, 2014

Volunteer is retired but works harder than ever at nonprofit

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/30/09/20/hMtLG.Em.138.jpeg|412
    Beverly “Mr. Bev” Clayton, founder and volunteer stand in front of the location on 203 North Old Statesville Road in Huntersville.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/30/09/20/1dsK7U.Em.138.jpeg|218
    Beverly “Mr. Bev” Clayton, Lydia’s Loft volunteer, stands in front of the location on 203 North Old Statesville Road in Huntersville.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/30/09/20/1u5lH9.Em.138.jpeg|453
    Aileen Ramirez, Lydia’s Loft volunteer displays men’s clothing in the Prom Store – an extension of Lydia’s Loft where students can shop for donated prom-related clothing and items.
  • Want to help?

    Lydia’s Loft is always accepting donations that can be dropped off at the house, at 203 N. Old Statesville Road, Huntersville. The organization is also accepting new volunteers. Call 704-948-7797.

If there is a driving force behind the success and continued operation of Lydia’s Loft in Huntersville, it is in the spirit of the volunteers who offer their time and labor to sustain it.

In operation for 10 years, Lydia’s Loft is a nondenominational organization that provides free clothing to people in need. It was founded by the First Baptist Church and is located near the church, at 203 N. Old Statesville Road.

Lydia’s Loft works in a partnership with Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson. Applicants are screened and given a ticket to shop for clothing for free.

Members of the church wanted to reach out to the growing Lake Norman community to help provide clothing and household items to families in need.

One of the founding members, Beverly Clayton who lives on Black Farms Road in Huntersville, known as “Mr. Bev” to the volunteers, shares his time with Lydia’s Loft from 20 to 40 hours a week, he said. A schoolteacher for 35 years, Clayton said he has seen the growth in the Lake Norman area multiply so quickly and with the growth, he saw the need multiply exponentially.

He retired from North Mecklenburg High School in 1998.

Having grown up poor in a rural area, his upbringing led him to help others.

Clayton, 73, said because we never know what type of situation a person comes from, we should never judge one another.

With tears in his eyes and strong emotion, Clayton remembers some of the students he taught in his career. He remembers them fondly but also remembers some of the struggles they faced because of poverty.

He said a goal of Lydia’s Loft is for clients to feel safe and protected. Women and children can receive 30 items each, and men can receive 15. He said they try to keep newer, in-style items that people are proud to wear.

They want to help men and women feel confident to go to job interviews and help them get back on their feet.

Anne Regnery of Davidson, volunteers with Clayton each week at Lydia’s Loft. She nominated him for a national Salute to Senior Service award, a contest sponsored by the Home Instead Senior Care network.

“Over the past 10 years, this man has dedicated 100 percent of his thought and his concern to the community,” Regnery said. “He is a great example for all of us. All this wisdom has come through his years of teaching.”

The contest recognized seniors who are making a difference in their communities by volunteering their time.

Though the award went to another senior in North Carolina, Regnery said Lydia’s Loft is a truly special place, and she believes Clayton’s leadership is the reason.

Having Clayton’s leadership is award enough, Regnery said, and just bringing recognition to him and to the organization is rewarding. “In that little house, the spirit is so strong. Other people ask what we are doing. There is something special here,” Regnery said.

Rachel Daniels is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Rachel? Email her at racheldaniels@outlook.com

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