Griffith: ‘I want to be there if someone needs me’

Published 4:20 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2018

By DAISY WASHINGTON / Community Columnist

If you ask Bernice Griffith why she gives so much of her time volunteering, her reply is unadorned and absolute.

“If you can help someone, you should do it,” she says, adding, “My reward is in heaven.”

She spends her time during the week rotating through various activities.

“I like to be involved,” she says.

She is an expert at crochet and knitting and is talented at crafting.

“I love people. I want to be there if someone needs me,” she says.

Whether teaching a group at the Calera Senior Center how to crochet, or creating greeting cards from stencils and chalk pens to send to sick and shut-ins, or socializing with Center members while participating in one of her favorite pastimes, working puzzles, Griffith is always somewhere doing something.

She is a part of a 20-participant group that regularly knits at the Columbiana Public Library.

She is a member of a Prayer Shawl Ministry that meets at the Columbiana Church of the Nazarene weekly. The shawls are donated to the church to distribute to those needing prayer.

Griffith helped organize the Friends of the Library in Columbiana about nine years ago. While she is no longer a current active member, she is a financial supporter of the library.

Griffith is a past volunteer with Quilts for Kids, the nonprofit organization that provides quilts for children suffering from abuse or life-threatening illness.

For years, she also provided clerical support to Safe House, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Calera Chamber of Commerce.

A Gold and Lifetime recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, and Spirit Award in 2015, Griffith has logged more than 17,000 volunteer service hours with RSVP since she joined in 2009.

The belief in volunteerism is a rich tradition that dates back to her grandmother. Long before there was RSVP, she served as advisor and confidant to many in her community at the time.

Griffith’s mother, now 90 years old, is an RSVP member in the city of Tacoma, Washington, where she resides.

So, following in the footsteps of these volunteer pioneers is natural for Griffith, who is 68.

She moved to Alabama 16 years ago when she married her husband, Shelton, a retired Shelby County Deputy. The happy couple resides in Columbiana.