Globe South People: Quincy volunteer Shirley Poore going strong at 90

Shirley Poore of Quincy has been volunteering at Interfaith Social Services’s thrift shop for more than 20 years.
Shirley Poore of Quincy has been volunteering at Interfaith Social Services’s thrift shop for more than 20 years.

VOLUNTEER STILL GOING STRONG AT 90: Putting in eight hours a week as a volunteer at the Interfaith Social Services’ Bureau Drawer Thrift Shop in Quincy, or running food from a church to the agency’s food pantry, or volunteering for a charity walk it holds every year may seem like a lot for a nonagenarian.

Not so, said Shirley Poore of Quincy, who recently turned 90.

“Oh, it’s good for me, you know,” she said. “I’ve been alone 20 years, since my husband died, and it beats sitting around in a nursing home.”


If Poore does any sitting around, it’s not at a nursing home. She lives in the same Quincy home where she’s lived for over a half-century, fending for herself and doing just fine, thank you very much.

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She started volunteering for Interfaith in 1991, and now works there every Wednesday and Friday from noon to 4 p.m., in addition to covering for other volunteers who are sick or on vacation.

The shop, at 105 Adams St., is run entirely by volunteers like Poore — but not exactly like Poore, who guessed, “I think I’ve volunteered there the longest, and I may be the oldest.” She used to do more for the agency, she said, such as stocking food in its food pantry, working as a crossing guard at the South Shore Walk (an agency fund-raiser where she still volunteers behind the scenes), and just about every other program at Interfaith.

That was before the broken hip, which she suffered on a cruise in 2002, when she was a mere 80.

“I fell and broke it,” she said with a laugh. “That was in St. Thomas. They mended me over there, and about a week and a half later, I came home.”


That messed with her golf game. She used to golf every Thursday with fellow volunteer Martha Chase. But with a steel plate in her hip, Poore can’t turn like she used to and has given up the game — but not a lot else. For instance, each week, she takes donated food from her church, Quincy Community United Methodist, to Interfaith’s food pantry.

“Many people really love and care for Shirley, and I’m one of them,” said thrift shop manager Cindy Lee. “Shirley is an important member of Interfaith’s family of volunteers.”

Paula Daniels, volunteer coordinator for Interfaith, said more than 80 volunteers staff the agency’s food pantry; thrift shop; Career Closet, which helps people dress for job interviews; and front desk. Poore “is an example of real dedication,” she said. “Our programs depend on these great volunteers.”

Volunteers are always needed, she said, adding that anyone interested can call her at 617-773-6203, ext. 28.

When Poole turned 90, volunteers threw her a birthday party. She expressed amazement that so many well-wishers called her up to congratulate her on her longevity and volunteer spirit after it was reported in the Interfaith newsletter. To her, she’s just doing what she loves to do — and wishes she could do more.


“I can’t do everything I’d like to do,” she said, adding with a laugh, “I can’t walk very good, but I can still drive, and as long as I can drive, I’ll be fine.”

VETERAN GETS A LIFT: Retired Massachusetts National Guard Staff Sergeant Michael Downing of Middleborough, who was on his second deployment to Afghanistan when he lost his legs in 2008 after an explosion, has received a $20,000 Body Lift System, which helps him get in and out of bed without assistance from others. He had asked the Veterans Administration to purchase the lift, but was denied, he said.

Beverly-based Guard Support, a nonprofit founded in 2007 to help Massachusetts National Guard families, raised the money for the equipment and installed in it Dowling’s home in May. Dowling also uses the system to get in and out of his hot tub, which he said he uses “as therapy for my stumps, especially after playing adaptive hockey, or if I’m sick.”

DANCING WITH THE VISITING ANGELS: Nate Murray, president of Visiting Angels of the South Shore, said the nonprofit agency’s third annual “Dancing With the Angels” fund-raiser racked up $17,000 for South Shore Elder Services and Old Colony Elder Services and their special needs funds, which helps elders in 34 communities pay for food, fuel, medicine, and shelter. The event was held at the River Club in Scituate, Murray said. Winning a dance competition that night were The Golden Girls from South Shore Elder Services, with South Shore Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice taking second place.

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Jonathan Raimond of Dorchester joined Weymouth-based Hill Partners Inc.’s new business development division. Raimond previously worked for Clear Channel and Titan, and has managed campaigns for Amtrak, the Boston Ballet, Work Out World, and JetBlue Airways.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at