Local News

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

Posted April 5, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— 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 programs whose functioning depends on volunteers.

During much of the year, good works projects can find enough people to help with what needs to be done -- carts filled with reading material are rolled around hospitals, docents guide visitors through museums and other public sites, patients unable to drive are ferried to doctor's appointments, tutors are found for kids, and Meals on Wheels can get hot food 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 how the 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 to work 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 Wheels program and thinks it's important.

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

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

To help with Meals on Wheels in your community, check the business pages of your local phone book. For other volunteer opportunities, call your local Volunteer Services Bureau, a church or hospital, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, American Cancer 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 of satisfaction.