Thursday, November 15, 2018

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StephenVance 270I've written before about the importance of volunteers in our community, but with our multi-part series on volunteering opportunities in the Municipality of Meaford concluding in this week's print paper, and with the annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner coming up next week, it's a good time to touch on the topic of volunteers again.

Not all volunteers are highly visible in the community. We all see when there's an army of volunteers cleaning up a park or collecting donations for the food bank, but much of the work undertaken by volunteers is done outside of the public eye.

I had a chat with a reader in the grocery store last week who has been dealing with some major health issues, and they mentioned to me how thankful they were to have a volunteer drive them to their medical appointments out of town, some a few hours drive away. The discussion reminded me that we can't see all of the activity that volunteers get up to, but it is comforting to know that they are there, giving of themselves for the benefit of others.

Many volunteers want nothing in the way of recognition; they aren't looking for awards or even a pat on the back no matter how deserving. Given the reluctance of many volunteers to blow their own horns, I think it is important that the municipality hosts the annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner so that the community can do it for them accompanied by a huge thank you.

We've had great response to the multi-part series on volunteering that we've run in our print paper. The series has explored the various types of organizations and volunteering opportunities that can be found in the municipality, and the feedback has been fantastic. And it has spawned a new idea for our paper – we want to catch Meaford residents in the act of volunteering, and you can help.

Similar to our popular 'What's in Your Garden?' feature in our print paper, we're looking for readers to submit photos of residents caught in the act of volunteering. Whether it's delivering Meals on Wheels, or pulling weeds in a community garden, we want to showcase some of the amazing volunteers who make this community tick.

We will no doubt snap some photos of our own when covering local events, but we're looking for our readers to submit photos of their local volunteer heroes.

If you are a member of a local community group and want to submit a photo of some of your volunteers, or if you're being assisted by a local volunteer who you think deserves some recognition, email a photo along with some information about the photo and who it is and why they are a special volunteer to: editor@themeafordindependent.ca and we will start running a 'Caught in the Act of Volunteering' feature in our weekly print paper.

And don't forget, the annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner will be held on Monday, August 27, at the Meaford & St. Vincent Community Centre from 4 to 7 p.m. There will be all-you-can-eat pasta along a cash bar and entertainment provided by local band Bored of Education.


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