Think of volunteering as a gift

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I have been asking people to volunteer their time for over 40 years. The reason I can still apply is because I think volunteering is a gift.

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To ask someone to volunteer, you need to be absolutely certain that the task is useful and needs to be done. Then you can move on to reviewing the skills and experience needed to complete the task and work hard to closely match the volunteer with the activity. When the task and the person are a perfect match, it’s amazing. The volunteer is happy and satisfied, and the task is well done. If there is a disconnect, go back to the drawing board to make sure the volunteer has a good experience.

I once heard a volunteer say “you can’t pay me to do this, but I will do it for free”. Now, if you’ve never volunteered, this phrase might not make sense to you. Think about it a bit.

Research confirms that most volunteers don’t want to be recognized with trinkets, certificates, awards, or fancy parties. What they want is to be treated with respect and valued on an ongoing basis. This is the approach that any group or organization should strive to take when involving volunteers.

A person who volunteers to deliver Meals on Wheels told me about a time when they delivered meals in winter weather. She was driving an old truck and slipped on the road, hitting both sides and the front of the vehicle against trees. It was pretty stoned but she could still drive it and managed to get back on the road. She went home, running inside to retrieve the keys to her car so that she could deliver meals. The seniors were waiting. It is commitment to the cause.

Several years ago, when we restarted Hot Meals on Wheels in Ameliasburgh, it took over an hour to deliver. We wanted to get started, so we tried to recruit volunteers to do it. Calls came in from people wishing to deliver Meals on Wheels to this area and the length of the route and the time did not matter. We have since been able to split the route in half to make it a more reasonable time commitment. The willingness of the people to deliver even when the road was long, however, is a testament to the wonderful and cohesive community we live in here in Prince Edward County.

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Prince Edward Community Care is currently seeking people interested in helping with the following areas: volunteer drivers (taking seniors to medical appointments) in Ameliasburgh; reception of foot care in Wellington; help order groceries for the elderly (this is done on a computer); office and front desk help for Picton; Thrift store volunteers; people to deliver meals on wheels in all areas.

When recruiting volunteers, Prince Edward County is the place to be due to the caring approach of the citizens of this community. If you can help with any of the above, give us a call at 613-476-7493.

If you’re looking to experience the gift of volunteering, we’re here to help. This is my personal invitation, asking you to call today. Start the conversation about your volunteering experience.

Debbie MacDonald Moynes is Executive Director of the Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Association.


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