In the prepandemic era (hard to remember, isn’t it?), Anne Dobson had six volunteer jobs, including two for Fearrington Cares. Although very different, each volunteer activity gave Anne a sense of human connection, which in turn has made her happy, she says. Sitting by the fire in her lovingly decorated West Camden home, Anne exudes an ebullient and outgoing nature, which is no doubt the reason she gives as much as she gets from volunteering.
Anne moved here 10 years ago from Virginia Beach, where she raised her three children and worked in educational publishing. Although she has a daughter living in Carrboro with her family, Anne didn’t know a soul in Fearrington Village before moving here. Yet when she heard about a “village on a farm” and then visited, she was certain this was the place for her. “I’m a person who can’t decide between two lamps, so I don’t know why I was so sure,” Anne laughs. “But I’ve had no regrets. Right away I found that people here are active, interesting, and interested in so many things. There’s an undefinable energy here.”
“Undefinable energy” is also an apt way to describe Anne herself. Before COVID, Anne worked at the CORA food pantry, tutored through Chatham Literacy, and cuddled babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at UNC. Even during COVID, Anne has continued folding laundry at SECU Family House at UNC Hospitals, which she describes as “a marvelous gem for families who live at least 50 miles away and need infusions, bone marrow transplants, and such.”
Another volunteer activity that Anne has continued during the pandemic is driving for Fearrington Cares. “It’s such a pleasure to meet, yet again, another interesting villager who has had a fascinating life. I always feel enriched.”
About six years ago, Anne was asked to be on a committee tasked with looking at ways to help Fearrington residents stay in their homes as they age. The group concluded that, among other things, a “ramped-up and refined” vendor list would be important for helping residents age in place. The list has become the most used feature of the Fearrington Cares website. “There are so many categories now,” Anne says. “Medical resources, landscaping, plumbing—I even got one the other day for a funeral home. A business can’t be on the list unless someone from Fearrington has highly recommended it. You’re supposed to be able to depend on the information you get.”
In addition to her six volunteer jobs, Anne regularly goes to the gym, belongs to two book groups, and enjoys seeing her children and grandchildren: “I had 14 here for Christmas—all of them for three meals and I did it!” she laughs.
Anne will be moving this spring to Galloway Ridge. It’s safe to say that she will definitely miss her volunteering experience with Fearrington Cares. “It’s such a joy to reach out to someone when you know they need help,” she says. “I think Fearrington Cares is one of the most interesting and unique concepts that I have heard of anywhere. I have a lot of friends in other places who pay for the services that we get through Fearrington Cares—for free.“