Commentary – Be a volunteer, thank a volunteer

Richard Froese

Volunteers serve valuable roles in any community.

Their special week is coming up.

National Volunteer Week returns April 18-24.

Communities and citizens will get an opportunity to thank and honour the valued volunteers who reach out to make life better for all they serve.

The Value of One, the Power of Many is the theme for National Volunteer Week.

It’s a special time to celebrate the vibrancy and impact of volunteers in our community, although the volunteers should always be honoured.

Many of those selfless servants have played important and special roles in the past year since the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic struck in mid-March 2020.

National Volunteer Week annually honours and celebrates the countless citizens who donate time and effort to serve in one or some of the dozens of community organizations that host events and offer other services in the community.

However, all that came to an abrupt halt when the pandemic struck.

People were ordered to stay home.

Schools closed, churches closed.

Gatherings were banned, in-person meetings for local organizations were cancelled.

As the months rolled along, annual community events were cancelled, which left the traditional volunteer with virtually nothing to do.

That’s where the special COVID-19 volunteers stepped in and stepped up.

Soon after the pandemic was declared, volunteers and groups of volunteers responded in various ways to reach out to assist higher-risk and vulnerable people, which included shut-ins and seniors.

Volunteers sacrificed time to help people in a difficult and unprecedented time to extend a hand to pick up and deliver groceries and other necessities.

While social distancing was ordered and visiting people in other households was prohibited, many volunteers reached out on the telephone or social media to connect with those homebound people.

Those who receive that love and care from volunteers feel much better by that support.

Volunteers were kept busy at local food banks to handle the growing demands as many people lost their jobs or had reduced hours of work and a cut in pay.

Most volunteers say they do what they do to give back to their community.

A genuine volunteer is a person who serves other people from their heart with no motive to receive anything monetary or material in return.

Volunteers deserve a big “thank you” for what they do.

COVID-19 restrictions have reduced opportunities for people to volunteer in regular – or normal – ways.

However, people find creative ways for volunteers to serve and meet the needs of other people while at the same time taking steps to protect everyone from the risk and spread of COVID-19.

Many people have remained somewhat isolated in their homes during pandemic and are grateful for those who reach out with that special touch.

As the vaccine continues to roll out, many volunteers are at community vaccine clinics to assist healthcare workers give people that much-needed and important shot in the arm to protect people from the virus.

Only co-operation with COVID-19 restrictions will allow health officials and governments relax restrictions to help open up communities and society to return to some sense of pre-COVID-19 normal.

Then, we can all get back to being together with family, friends and serving the community as volunteers.

Be a volunteer, thank a volunteer.

Thank you, volunteers.

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