|Compassionate Volunteers and Good Communities|
|Posted by Charles Esslinger on Feb 26th, 2013|
It is important to remember how much of an impact individuals and groups can have on a community. Everyday, there are people all over the world that volunteer their time to help make other people's lives a little better. While we appreciate the work done by all volunteers, there are some that go above and beyond. They make volunteering part of their life, and for that, we should all be thankful.
Volunteering with your valentine:
Most couples celebrate Valentine's Day with a romantic dinner and a night out on the town. Then again, most couples aren't like Terri Wilkerson and Jim Lee. Instead of spending money on chocolates and a fancy restaurant, Terri and Jim spent their Valentine's Day the exact same way they first met, by volunteering.
Terri and Jim began volunteering in 1995 at a nonprofit in Washtenaw County, MI called Food Gatherers. When they first started volunteering, the two were complete strangers. They got to know each other better while delivering baked goods to different charities throughout the county. They made a good team, in more ways than one, and were eventually married on Oct. 19, 1996.
Fifteen years later, Terri and Jim are still volunteering at Food Gatherers. They even bring their 14-year-old son, Spencer, to help every once and a while. Other than that, not much has changed. Terri and Jim are still very active in the day-to-day operations at Food Gatherers. They also like contributing to the charities public events. “Sometimes we'd sort food at the warehouse and in later years we participated in Grillin' for Food Gatherers, the annual big fundraiser in June,” said Terri. “We continue to invite people to attend Grillin' so that they can get familiar with Food Gatherers too.”
Despite the hard work of folks like Terri and Jim, Food Gatherers still needs help. “We have a need for energetic volunteers can take on physical tasks at our warehouse for 2 to 4 hour shifts,” explained Mary Schlitt, director of development for Food Gatherers.
As of now, volunteers account for almost 70 percent of all hours worked at Food Gatherers. The charity distributes nine tons (or 15,000 meals) everyday. According to Schlitt, that's just the start. “Gifts to the capital fund will facilitate the expansion of our current warehouse by 12,775 square feet to more than double our current distribution capacity.”
For more information on how you can donate some of your of time or money to Food Gatherers, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Praise for a young volunteer:
Lauren Ogley may be young, but that hasn't stopped her from leaving her mark on the community of Barnsley. Lauren, who is just 17 years old, was recently nominated for the High Sheriff award for her volunteering work. She was nominated in the young person's volunteering and fundraising category, and was recognized for her volunteer work with children at the Exodus Project.
Lauren, who is now studying child care at Barnsley College, has a long history of working with young people. She runs three different school programs for children and teaches a Sunday school class for her church. The children she works with range in age from 8 to 11.
Lauren's involvement with the Exodus project, which is a Christian charity, started when she was a child. “I got involved with the Exodus Project because I went there as a child,” said Lauren. “I've been with them for three years and I do it because I want to and because I enjoy it. We talk about influences on society and try to teach them the right way and to make informed choices. I enjoy meeting the children and watching them grow up.”
Jackie Peel, project manager at Exodus, was one of the people who decided to nominate Lauren. “She has been with us consistently for four years, volunteering her time to help others in the clubs,” Peel explained. “We nominated Lauren because of this and because she is reliable, willing to undertake any task and makes herself available for any other events we may need help for.”
The winners of the High Sheriff award will be announced on March 6.
AnnArbor.com - http://www.annarbor.com/news/couple-who-met-volunteering-at-food-gatherers-celebrate-valentines-day-with-donation/
Barnsley - http://www.barnsley-chronicle.co.uk/news/article/6170/high-praise-for-laurens-volunteering
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