By Christina Feerick, Director of Communications and Marketing
This time of year, many of us are celebrating abundance and are giving back by donating food, money, and clothing to those in need. But for Larry Schoff and his wife Ally, this Thanksgiving provided an opportunity to give even more than usual. The Schoffs decided to provide Thanksgiving meals for the residents of enCircle’s Group Homes— paid for out of their own pocket. They worked with Julie’s Abundance Project — an initiative at enCircle that honors former CEO Julie Swanson. Using donations that support above and beyond the day-to-day needs, Julie’s Abundance Project opens doors to new opportunities, experiences, and events that people with disabilities, children in foster care, or students in Minnick Schools may not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy.
This generosity does not just occur during the holidays. With support from his church, Our Savior Lutheran Church in Christiansburg, Schoff shops for bargains year-round. Since the pandemic began, he has brought his skills as a career engineer in the Army and an area school system to hunt for awesome deals for the more than 30 people in enCircle’s group homes who can’t shop for themselves.
His motivation comes from his heart. Schoff has been a supporter of enCircle, and the local food bank, for the past ten years. Over time he has supplied pounds of meat, hundreds of boxes of mac & cheese, cereal, cake mixes, fresh corn on the cob — you name it, he’s found it on the shelves of area stores. Schoff knows store managers by name, when the sales are at each shop, and what the folks who are supported by enCircle like best! He says store employees have learned what he and Ally are doing, and now help them find food that’s on sale.
Then they make a special delivery to the Group Homes of enCircle every other week.
“Our family has been blessed,” Schoff told Roanoke TV station WDBJ7, “and there’s no reason we can’t share it, because that is really what being an American is all about.”
The Schoffs supplemental food donations help fill in the gaps and provide much-needed nutrition for Group Home residents. These “extras” also help enCircle stretch its budget during the COVID-19 pandemic. The deliveries add up. Schoff hopes the total will reach 10,000 pounds of food by the end of the year — and for Larry and Ally, we are grateful.