River Country Journal
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December 19, 2012

The Volunteer Connection by Margaret Shultz

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Written by: Bruce Snook
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Margaret Shultz, Volunteer Services Specialist

It’s the week before Christmas and parents and students everywhere are anxious for the school holiday to begin.  After the presents are opened and the cookies are all gone, however, the days may start to get long and parents may be looking for reasons to get the family out of the house and doing something different.  There are organizations in the area that have needs that would be perfect for this kind of one-time or very short term volunteer help.

The Domestic Assault and Sexual Abuse (DASAS) shelter in Three Rivers has a lot going on during the holidays and they would be glad for some help.  They always get holiday donations from the community and they will need help with sorting and wrapping gifts for their residents and the people they serve.  They are also planning some outside events for their residents during the school holiday and they could use help from volunteers to go along or provide transportation.  Finally, they have some cleaning and organizing that needs to be done and they would be very grateful for some help with that.  If you’d like to help DASAS call Rita Reed at 269-273-6154 ex 109.  She would prefer that you call earlier than the day you wish to work so that she can be sure to have your registration and background checks all done before you start work.

Up-Cycled Pets has some posters that need to be put up in various locations around the county.  This might be a perfect opportunity for a high school student needing to get some community service hours or for a parent and child team who want to do something to help animals looking for permanent homes.  If you’d be able to help with this project call Lynda Molter at 269-273-1514.

The Salvation Army in Sturgis has lots of activity during the holiday time especially when they distribute food and gifts to hundreds of area needy families and seniors.  Once the distribution is completed, there is the inevitable cleanup and it’s always helpful to have fresh volunteers to help with that.  The Salvation Army also runs a soup kitchen at lunch time on week days and they need help with preparing the meals, welcoming the guests who come for a meal, and again with cleanup after.  Call Nick Metzger at 269-651-4275 if you’d like to help the Salvation Army with any of their projects.

Many of the free stores and re-sale stores get lots of donations after Christmas as families try to make room for new toys and clothing that they received as gifts.  Most all these types of businesses depend heavily on volunteer help to keep their doors open and they would be grateful for whatever time you might have to help with sorting and displaying new donations.  At the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Sturgis you can contact Pam Duskin at 269-651-3805.  At the County Closet in Three Rivers you can call Delores Murray at 269-279-6183.

Other programs in St. Joseph County that are looking for volunteers and would like to be included in this weekly column are encouraged to sign up with United Way.  Contact Margaret Shultz, Volunteer Services Specialist, at 269-467-9099 or at volunteer.sjcuw@gmail.com.


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