Even after retiring, the habits of Stan and Marlene Smucker haven't changed all that much.
The North Newton couple have been volunteering at the Newton Et Cetera Shop for nearly two decades now (following retirement) — continuing the mission they were focused on in their time as a pastoral team serving marginalized communities in Ohio, Oklahoma and Colorado.
"We've always felt committed to serving humanity that tends to be underserved," Stan said.
Helping support the programs of Mennonite Central Committee — like the Et Cetera Shop — was attractive to the Smuckers, since the funds raised not only support local relief, but also serve national and international efforts.
The Smuckers noted they also enjoy working with people, and the committed volunteers of the Et Cetera Shop have made for good company. The back room is typically buzzing with work during the two shifts the Smuckers work on a weekly basis. Between the two of them, that's two full days of work — though it doesn't stop at the shop.
"And we take work home, like sorting pencils and pens and stuff, so we put in about 10 hours a week, each of us," Marlene said.
On top of that, Stan regularly volunteers at Kidron Bethel Village multiple times a week, while Marlene also spends time helping out at Book Reviews. The Smuckers are also heavily involved in their church community at Shalom Mennonite Church.
For both, the commitment to giving back started from a young age.
"It's the way we were raised. We both grew up in farm families that lived simply, worked hard and helped people. Both of our parents were committed to helping people, so we kind of had that in our DNA," Stan said.
Books are the Smuckers' department at the Et Cetera Shop — helping sort, clean, recycle, price and shelve the donated items.
Recycled books can be used for insulation or other purposes — which the Smuckers appreciate — but what they admitted brings them the most joy is seeing those books get a second life and more use among the customers who frequent the Et Cetera Shop.
"When I see children who can get a pretty book and mother can afford to buy it, that means a lot to me," Marlene said.
Getting to know the customers (like their fellow volunteers) has also been a great experience for the Smuckers. Having been raised in the church, they were both taught to love your neighbor and help those in need — something they have found an ability to do, even in retirement.
Trying to get other retirees to give of their time at the Et Cetera Shop, the Smuckers were unsure if they had recruited anyone to the cause over the years, but one thing is for sure — continuing to serve that mission has meant a lot to them.
"It gives a schedule and meaning to your life," Marlene said. "We come on Tuesdays and Fridays, and every time we see a pile of books go down and be organized on the shelf — and the bin is full to be recycled — that feels good; that's rewarding."