River Country Journal
Celebrating and Nurturing Life in Southwest Michigan's River Country

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March 6, 2013

The Volunteer Connection by Margaret Shultz

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Written by: Bruce Snook
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Margaret Shultz, Volunteer Services Specialist

Animal Rescue Fund has been active in St. Joseph County since 1998.  During that time, they have spent over $200,000 to help spay or neuter over 5,000 pets when the owners couldn’t afford to have it done.  They also provide straw and pet food to pet owners who struggle to pay for those items.  Finally, they provide emergency medical care for animals injured by cars when they have no known owner.  Funds to support these programs are obtained in a variety of ways but ARF’s big, annual fundraiser is their Mostaccioli Dinner and Auction.  This event is scheduled for April 13 and will be held at Belle Epoch in Three Rivers.  Mark your calendar!   Items for the auction are still needed.  They would also be grateful for volunteer help to set up for the dinner as well as clean-up after.  ARF is also looking for a donated van.  They would like something that’s in good working order that can be used for transporting animals to local vet clinics.  All donations to ARF are tax deductible.  If you have a love for animals and would like to volunteer or make a donation, contact Leeann Farmer at 269-718-3826.

Sturgis Hospital is in the process of moving several doctors’ offices.  They are looking for a few volunteers who would be willing to come during the week of March 11 to paint and get things ready for the new occupants.  All the work will be done at Sturgis Medical Commons I, the old Harding’s Market.  Interested volunteers should call Jo Hagood at 269-659-6747.

Being a Big Brother or a Big Sister can be one of the most fun and fulfilling activities you will ever do.  It gives you the opportunity to help shape a child’s future by exposing them to new activities, new people and new ways of thinking.  In a recent survey, 81% of Littles agree that their Big gave them hope and changed their perspective of what they thought possible.  Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana has kids in St. Joseph County waiting for adults who will help them grow and learn.  Spend at least an hour a week sharing your life with a young person and I’m betting that, after a few weeks, you’ll be telling your friends that you get more out of the experience than your Little does.  Volunteering is like that!  Big Brothers Big Sisters requires a minimum of a one-year commitment and they provide training prior to making any match.  For more information contact Rachael Haggenjos at 888-456-1600.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana helps pay for their programming with fundraisers including Bowl for Kids Sake, which has been an annual event for the past 40 years.  The Michigan event is scheduled for Saturday, March 16 at Strike Zone in Bronson.  If you’d like to support the program by gathering a team and raising pledges, you can get all the information you need at the agency’s website.  Go to www.bbbsnei.org and click on the Bowl link on the first page.

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


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