In 2012, Chuck Youse started Helpful Hands and Hearts simply as a “Project” for The University of North Carolina Senior leadership initiative and presented the project to the Lake Gaston Retirement Foundation, Inc (LKGRF) requesting funding to make it a reality. By 2012, it had become clear that LKGF would be unable to fulfill its intended mission of developing a retirement community on Lake Gaston, so Helpful Hands and Hearts was begun as an attempt to simply use the existing LKGF charity structure for good in other ways.

wooden ramp built by Helpful Hands and Hearts

The initial vision remains the same to this day. Helpful Hands and Hearts’ vision is to help Seniors meet their access and transportation challenges, so that they can maintain or even improve their quality of life. It started slowly, but today Helpful Hands and Hearts is recognized as a force for good within the Lake Gaston and Roanoke Valley Community. We travel far and wide across our rural Lake Gaston and Roanoke Valley footprint. We service all of Warren, Halifax and Northampton counties in North Carolina, as well as Brunswick and Mecklenburg counties in Virginia.

Helpful Hands and Hearts beginning to build the ramp

Today, Helpful Hands and Hearts has developed a team of nearly 70 volunteers who help, not just Seniors, but others who struggle with either access and / or transportation challenges. We’ve even reached a point recently where, thanks to Our Partners, we’ve been able to hire a part-time Office Manager to help co-ordinate volunteers, keep our Friends informed and generally keep things running smoothly (well, more smoothly!).

picture of founder Chuck Yourse

When we help an individual or family, they truly become our Friends. Down at the grassroots level where we work, Helpful Hands and Hearts strives every day to Make a Difference, One Smile at a Time. Have you been thinking about joining a group that truly Makes a Difference in other people’s lives? Learn more about becoming a Volunteer at Helpful Hands and Hearts.

Picture of Helpful Hands and Hearts supporters