Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

{May 21, 2011}   Volunteers are EVERYWHERE!

I supported 4 agencies that were all inspired and staffed by volunteers this morning in less than 2.5 hours. Whew!

First I went to a free stroke screen at our local hospital. I had thought that it was just an extra work day for the nurses and staff, but they were giving their time and promoting services. Very cool. (For those concerned about me. I’m high risk and I left in tears. Luckily, I was not immediately admitted, but I was told to contact my physician no later than Monday….Yowza….)

Feeling heart broken..over my health… I walked out and could see from the exit across from the parking lot of the hospital that they had set up a local farmers market with about 40 vendors across the lot…and me being me, I marched right over and set out to chat with several new friends and found out that through grass roots efforts and volunteers, vendors were set up and everything under the sun was presented. I went looking for garlic…since it’s good for the heart ….and found out mid June is the best time for fresh garlic…I’ll for sure be back for that. I saw one vendor selling herbs and next to it was a sign that said Master Gardner Sale at the Fair grounds…

I loaded my lettuce and green onions into the truck and then headed over to the Fairgrounds in town. You know how much I love the local Master Gardeners. They’ve worked with me at the library on our grounds so I just had to go support them…I purchased several varieties of Iris and was told instruction on how to replant them (DO NOT BURY THE RHIZOME!….ok…can you tell me that without the pitchfork and stern tone???)

Ready to call it a morning, I decided to go through town and saw that a road was blocked off. I was being curious and to my surprise saw people on beds racing down the street. It was a bed race to support our Boys and Girls Club. I had to cheer them on, so grabbed a decaf (my first step in heart health..) and cheered and chatted with my friends from B&G and the Parks Department.

Volunteers are everywhere! The more you support them in your community the more creative and fun things there will be in your community! Get out there and make it happen 🙂


{November 24, 2010}   Giving Thanks…

I saw one of our most loyal and dependable volunteers today, it was about  a month ago that Marie’s husband passed away. He was 92 years old. She may be in her 90’s as well.

On the day before Thanksgiving,  I always think of the people who have lost someone, who are struggling or who are just lost and wonder how they will spend their day. There always seems to be the people who are scrambling to have that perfect Martha Stewart dinner, others decide to have their families work at a soup kitchen, while others just do what they always have done  not fussing or striving for anything out of the ordinary.

I asked Marie how she plans to spend tomorrow and she said like she always has, at the Country Buffet. Her husband didn’t like all that traditional fuss and where can you take a group of people who can get what they want but the local buffet restaurant.

For me it’s all about family and spending time with them. I remember my job when I was little was to spread the cream cheese on the celery and dash the paprika on it. I think it was just my job to stay out-of-the-way but I was a master at it. If you are cooking at home, Martha Stewart or not, make sure you have lots of volunteers engaged in the day with lots of simple tasks. The more you get people involved, the more they will make a memory of it.

However you choose to spend your holiday, remember there is always something to be thankful for even if it’s just a memory.

It’s that time of year where we put the tubs out in the lobby and ask for donations to help supply the food banks. Schools are doing it, businesses are doing it and we do it through the end of the year. My office collects all year-long. People are hungry all year-long and it’s not uncommon for some of the volunteers I work with to grab a can of soup or beans from the tub outside my office .

Not that beggars can be choosers, but I always tell the teen groups I work with to donate canned food that they like to eat. Ravioli, Mac and Cheese, Spaghetti-O’s. Why is it that when people donate canned items, they always give the items that they don’t want in their cupboard or that’s been in their cupboard since the cold war? I’m actually surprised at some of the food that’s in my box. Canned applesauce? Creamed Split Pea Soup? 10 cans of Cream of Celery?

I’m not sure what people are expecting out of the people who are forced to turn to food banks. Are they thinking they’ll be so grateful that they’ll puncture that can of lima beans with a dull knife and just start gulping it with half gloves and grubby fingernails?

More and more people of all types are going to food banks to help supplement their meals. Lots of food banks now are voucher free and lots of these food banks are helping our neighbors, patrons and community members be able to stretch their income to pay for essentials like housing and transportation to work.It’s a tough world out there.

When you donate to the banks, remember who they are helping to feed: Children, Elderly, Growing Babies and Teens. Think high nutritional donations. Peanut Butter, Canned Tuna, good soups loaded with veggies and meat. Cream of Chicken is a good donation choice, but remember that those item types mostly complement real chicken in casseroles and dinners.

I know it’s the thought that counts, but let’s make sure we are thinking it through. Donate what you like to eat, you’ll feel  more connected and better about it in the end! You will…believe me 🙂

{November 26, 2009}   A Volunteering Volunteer Manager

et cetera
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