Part of my work day has me checking out news stories from across Canada. I know. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

There are many interesting stories. We put some of them on one of our company websites. It might not sound terribly exciting. But then, a new recipe for chicken soup, or an expensive house on a dinky lake outside of Montreal may not be yours or my cup of tea either.

But, as the saying goes about finding a life partner, there is someone out there for every person.

So there are makes of trucks, different kinds of cereal, television channels, and stories out there somewhere, someone will like.

This particular day, a story about volunteers caught my eye.

Doing a quick search of our story inventory revealed 4,046 recent stories about volunteers. I thought that most would be about how hard it is for community groups to find volunteers to help with their projects. I was wrong.

Oh, to be sure, there are lots and lots of stories about volunteer shortages. But success stories abound too. One such story came from Swan Hills. It’s about some Hills fire department members heading off to a competition.

One of the competitors says after the challenges, “you can’t even walk. Your legs are done. They feel like jelly. Volunteers help remove mask and gear and help you to a recovery centre.” Good work.

Down in Nova Scotia, a local town council plans to encourage volunteers with a special recognition program.

In Manitoba, a volunteer group specializes in “rescuing” food that is stale dated.

The group in 2022 directed 540,000 pounds of food to soup kitchens, seniors facilities, outreach groups, food banks and other charity groups.

The food comes from restaurants and grocery stores that would otherwise end up in landfills.

When it comes to volunteers, it has to be said, if the need is out there, people will step up. There are many reasons why.

Not only do people want to help, it’s an opportunity to make a better community.
Plus get together with like-minded people. Plus meet new faces.

Of course, no community has an endless supply of people wanting to help. The story about “STP” always available is way too true. Same Ten People. Over and over again.

But it has to be said, thank goodness for them!

And these days, for a variety of reasons, as documented in many of those 4,046 stories mentioned above, volunteers in too many cases are running thin. Even with the STP!

Governments have always had an attitude there will always be volunteers.

Fifty years ago, it was normal for a couple of well-paid civil servants to show at a community meeting and tell volunteers go door-to-door looking for donations.

Not much has changed in some circles. Money for “appreciation nights’ is cut back. Too many groups are denied casino licences to help with their meaningful projects. And of course, the “great divide” between what rural groups can earn compared to city groups is enormous.

The great job volunteers do is Canada wide. There shouldn’t be challenges.

Commentary by Jeff Burgar

May 8, 2023

This item copyrighted by / Lakeside Leaader   Slave Lake, Alberta

Comments are Welcome - Use the 'Join the Discussion' above any replies, or 'TheRegional / Chat' below replies. Both links take you to the same place. You will be asked to become a registered user if you are not one already - Posts are moderated