Seasonal Volunteers- Important to the Mission?
Published December 28, 2011
By Lynda Johnson, Volunteer Coordinator
As a Volunteer Manager for Spectrum Generations (a.k.a. Central Maine Area Agency on Aging) Cohen Community Center, I am privileged to work with and coordinate approximately 200 volunteers. In 2010, this wonderful group of people "gifted" approx. 16,000 hours to our senior and disabled population. No task is too small for this group, jumping into any position needing to get done in order to meet the mission of our agency. Last year alone, the volunteers packed and delivered 43,244 Meals on Wheels and 4,000lbs of pet food; served 25,333 meals to patrons in our dining room, created over 400 ornaments for our homebound friends, cleaned our dining room and building, counted pennies for our annual fundraiser and became buddies to the consumers in our Adult Day Care program. The list of accomplishments goes on and on.
Can you, the reader, find any one volunteer task listed above that may not be important? Every single volunteer opportunity is an important cog in the wheel in order for us to provide needed services to the elderly. It is important to note that many of the tasks listed above were completed by seasonal volunteers. Without their help, I may not have been able to meet some of the program requirements.
We also hold annual fundraisers and events that require seasonal volunteers to "get the job done." For example, each year we ask school children in the area to create ornaments, collect pennies and to volunteer as wait staff in our dining room. We also have a few "snow birds" that deliver Meals on Wheels and assess the needs of our homebound neighbors during the summer.
It is important to keep an open mind to the different types of volunteering opportunities available. Although retirees are an important group to the success of a volunteer corps, one does not want to go down the road of accessing only this population. The use of corporate volunteers, those currently employed and, of course, seasonal volunteers all go a long way towards helping to fill the need. I have found this type of volunteer may want to help out in specific ways, for example, running a booth at the annual Health and Wellness Expo or selling tickets at a one-time fundraiser event, etc.
Long term volunteers as well as episodic volunteers are needed to complete the mission of our agency. A variety of people, in all walks of life, must be considered for an agency whose mission includes a volunteer corps to a meet its goals.