The Natchitoches Parish School System was fortunate to have Sophie Packard as a part of their family for 31 years. During her tenure as an educator, she was active in Phi Delta Kappa and Delta Kappa Gamma, which entailed many service projects. Along with those activities, she also assisted her husband in his pastoral ministry as a church pianist. Now that she is retired, Packard devotes much of her week to the service of others.
Packard initially contacted her local Lions Club after retiring. She began her volunteer “career” there and continues to serve their programs. She accepted the challenge of working in the Lov’n Care Mission along with her husband. After a period of time, she became the Assistant Director, Office Director, and Food Coordinator. She assisted her husband amass and train a staff of volunteers that would reach out spiritually, physically, and emotionally to those in need. Under the leadership of the Packards, the mission was organized and expanded when the needs of the community arose.
In 1999, more than 20 churches were directly involved in the Lov’n Care Mission due to the diligence of Sophie. They now cooperate with the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Goodwill, Natchitoches Literacy Council, RSVP Program, Crisis Pregnancy Center and other service organizations in the area. Both the volunteers and recipients have been blessed through the program. More than 45,500 pounds of food has been dispensed, and over 30,000 pieces of clothing has been distributed. The program has also been able to distribute clothing to burnout victims as well as appliances, furniture, and other necessary items for the home. Those who are abused and homeless have also received the same assistance from the ministry.
In addition, Packard speaks at various churches to promote the cause of the Lov’n Care Mission. She has been featured in several radio and newspaper articles. This also keeps the public informed of what is being done in their community. Sophie Packard has been an integral part of keeping volunteers informed of service opportunities in her area. She has recruited for the RSVP Program, the Literacy Council, assisting with the Census 2000 endeavors, as well as the AARP. She was a leader as an educator and now continues that legacy as a volunteer.