Former teacher still serving the community as a volunteer

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brad Johnson Dee Oldaker, left, program assistant with Catholic Charities West Virginia in Elkins, shares a smile with longtime volunteer Judy Sinkule.

ELKINS — A Catholic Charities West Virginia volunteer in Elkins is often recognized by the people she helps during her work.

“Sometimes clients come in for help and I taught them in school or had their kids in school,” Judy Sinkule said. “Some of them recognize me right after, and with others it takes a minute. Some of them I recognize immediately, they look almost the same.

“It always makes me feel good to see kids I had in school. They always remember you and want to give you a big hug.”

Sinkule has been volunteering with Catholic Charities for eight years. She first got involved with the organization after retiring from teaching, when she kept seeing a notice seeking volunteers in her church bulletin.

“I decided after about a year of getting used to being retired it was time to get back out and do something,” she said.

Sinkule worked for the Randolph County school system for 37 years as a teacher and librarian.

“I started out teaching at the old Central School building downtown,” she said with a laugh. “That was quite a while ago!”

Sinkule volunteers her time one day a week.

“I help in the emergency food pantry. I take people in and show them what is available,” she said.

“We try to help people get through an emergency. Pretty much it’s food for one or two days,” said Dee Oldaker, program assistant for Catholic Charities West Virginia in the Elkins office, which is located in the Tygart Valley Mall.

Sinkule said she enjoys serving as a volunteer.

“Volunteering gets me out and around people, and it’s good to give back a little bit. It’s nice to talk to the people and it makes you feel good to be able to help them,” she said. “Over time they get to be your buddies.”

There is also a serious need for assistance in this area, she noted.

“Some days we have 25 clients come through here in three hours,” Sinkule said.

“Judy is always there to help out, with a smile on her face as well. She always gets everybody laughing and in a good mood. That’s just her bubbly personality,” Oldaker said.

Sinkule moved to Randolph County in 1972 to find work as a teacher. She met her husband here, who had gone to Davis & Elkins College.

“We loved it here and we stayed,” she said. “It’s a great place to raise kids.” She and her husband have two grown children, a son and a daughter.

“I would definitely encourage people to volunteer. It’s very rewarding, in different ways,” Sinkule said.

Anyone interested in volunteering for Catholic Charities West Virginia can call 304-636-4875 and speak to Oldaker. Food donations are always welcomed by the organization.

“We often receive donations around the holidays but the need in this area is all through the year,” Oldaker said.

The office’s hours of operation are 1 to 3 p.m. on Mondays, and 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.