When Sable Choals found herself volunteering in 2016, she was in a dark place.
Her mom had recently passed away, as well as her best friend. Around the same time, a traffic stop led to losing her license, which took away her ability to care for her ailing step-father and needing to complete community service.
She started coming in at 7:30 AM, after getting off work as a chemist, to clean and vacuum – and anything else she could help with.
“I was welcomed, I never felt judged,” Sable said.
Along the way, she met and befriended other volunteers who offered listening ears and encouragement to her – without judgement.
“If it had not been for Marcia [Kapolka] and me having that outlet to listen and not judge me, I really don’t know where I would have went,” Sable said. “She just lifted me up and told me everything was going to be OK.”
Sable finished her community service early, and continued volunteering at FROM. More than 5 years and nearly 2,100 volunteer hours later, Sable now helps out creating displays on her days off.
“I really did come out on the other side here,” she said. “I met a lot of other great people”
She said the reasons she continues to volunteer is because of friendships, giving back, the customers and the stories. “At some point I was like, ‘I am never leaving FROM again,’” she said.
She loves putting together displays so regular customers can see something different and loves chatting with customers about their purchases because you learn so much about them.
“To hear stories of the customers, it’s so enlightening,” she shared and continued on to say she constantly tries to remind herself what FROM is here for, and why she volunteers – to help other families and neighbors in need in the Greater Lowell Community.
Reflecting back on the last 5 years of volunteering and the growth she’s seen in herself as a person, Sable said, “I don’t think anyone should think a mistake should define you.”
“I want everyone to feel welcome and accepted,” Sable said. “I want to be able to help.”
Sable is one of more than 460 active volunteers at FROM. Volunteers touch every aspect of our organization – from setting our vision on the Board of Directors to serving in our programs and everywhere in between.