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How You Spent Your Summer Vacation...Volunteering, Perhaps?

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WILSON — Summer brings certain inevitable things --baseball, trips to the beach, lazy vacations, and a hunt for volunteers.The latter isn't sport; it's necessity for administrators of programswhose functioning depends on volunteers.

During much of the year, good works projects can find enough people tohelp with what needs to be done -- carts filled with reading material arerolled around hospitals, docents guide visitors through museumsand other public sites, patients unable to drive are ferried to doctor'sappointments, tutors are found for kids, and Meals on Wheels can get hotfood to those who depend on the free one-meal-a-day delivery service.

But the Wilson-based Meals on Wheels program is a good example of howthe distractions of summer pull people from their usual volunteer work.

Assistant Director Susan Clayton says the key word to her is"consistency," that the recipients of the meals depend on getting them --whether it's summer or winter. And in summer, that means Clayton has towork hard to find volunteers to fill in for those who take time off.

Don Pridgen says he volunteers one day a week to the Meals on Wheelsprogram and thinks it's important.

Rainey Wilkerson, another volunteer, points out that it benefits thosewho give of themselves as well as those housebound folks who need themeals.

Although retirees make up the backbone of many non-profit groups,students -- with their seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm -- arealso very welcome to help.

To help with Meals on Wheels in your community, check the businesspages of your local phone book. For other volunteer opportunities,call your local Volunteer Services Bureau, a church or hospital, theAmerican Red Cross, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, AmericanCancer Society or other charity.

Then, when it comes time to assess how you spent your summer vacation,you might not have a suntan, but you will glow from am sense ofsatisfaction.

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