Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress
They give of themselves unhesitatingly, and this week, in observance of National Volunteer Week, volunteers with H.O.P.E., Cherokee County Family Services and Bonner Street Plaza are being honored during special receptions.
“We just want to say thank you to our volunteers for helping out all year-round,” said H.O.P.E executive director Allison Hale.
“It's (the nursing home's) outreach to the community to let them know we appreciate them,” added Bonner Street Plaza marketing director Daniel Minton.
“We can't get by without our volunteers and friends,” agreed Shirley Reese, chairman of the board of directors for CCFS.
H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Pursue Enrichment), a non-profit organization that has served since 1991 as a clearing house for local churches and agencies, kicked off the week with a volunteer appreciation luncheon Monday, while Family Services' recognition reception was held Monday evening “for all of those who handle kids” going through the program, Reese said.
Hale said her organization considers itself “very fortunate” because of the nearly 2,000 volunteers, “who believe in the mission of H.O.P.E., who believe and understand what we do and who want to help us make a difference in the community.”
The nursing home volunteers help out in whatever way needed, “depending on what's going on. Sometimes it's bingo, sometimes its the different activities we have in the building,” he said. “They hold parties (for residents). They read to them. One of our volunteers makes bibs for residents to wear when they eat.
“Whatever (residents) need – even if it's just to hold someone's hand – they help,” he said.
Bonner Street Plaza will hold an appreciation luncheon at noon Friday for their five volunteers as well as for emergency responders.
“We want to thank everyone – first responders, volunteer fire departments, everyone who provides emergency services – for what they do,” Minton said. “It's nice to know that we (in the) community can rely on different volunteers to give back.”
For Reese, herself a volunteer at H.O.P.E., where she helps with health screenings, volunteering there is a joy.
“And it's where I get to see all my friends,” she laughed.