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Volunteerism can be its own reward

By Staff | Jan 11, 2019

Good Shepherd Caregivers is one local charity in need of more volunteers. Toni Milbourne

SHEPHERDSTOWN — As 2019 begins, there are many opportunities for those who have some spare time to step up and help out on a volunteer level. With recessions and budget cuts, the need for volunteers is strong and the possibilities are endless.

Looking around the local community, it is easy to see the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department is in need of more help providing services to the community. As it has recently been advertising on its sign, the company offers a junior program to allow younger members to learn the ropes and become active members of the fire and rescue community. But even if fighting fires or providing medical care is not what one strives to do, the company can always use volunteers to assist with fundraisers such as weekly bingos, annual apple butter making and many other activities. Information on multiple possibilities can be found by calling the station at 304-876-2311.

Just down the street sits the small offices of Good Shepherd Interfaith Caregivers, an organization that can never have enough volunteer help, to transport clients to medical visits, the store or any number of other places. Director Paula Marrone-Reese would be thrilled to have volunteers stop in at her door or call her at 304-876-3325, saying they would like to help this organization that provides assistance to so many in need. It would be a great fit for one who has some time and a vehicle to transport individuals to appointments, and who enjoy simply talking to others.

The Shepherdstown Public Library is another option for volunteers to give time, by reading to youngsters, tutoring or helping to raise funds for the new library facility, set to begin construction soon.

Along those same lines is an organization known as Read Aloud West Virginia, through which readers go into local schools and spend a few minutes a week reading books aloud to the students. Statistics show the difference reading makes in the life of a child, as it affects how he or she develops in life.

Working with young people can take on other forms, such as scouting. Both the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts organizations function solely through volunteers who work with the youth. Add in new organizations such as American Heritage Girls and Trail Life, and there are venues for every walk of life.

If working with young people is not the right volunteering fit, check out the Animal Welfare Society or the Audubon Society. Both organizations strive to draw in volunteers to help with taking care of animals and the environment.

Jefferson County Community Ministries in downtown Charles Town offers a food and clothing venue for those in need and always need assistance in organizing, sorting and sharing the goods with the community. In addition, they organize the Homeless Coalition in the winter months, working with local churches to provide nightly shelter to those without a place to go. One can easily volunteer at their local church to help with the endeavor.

Also within the church doors, one can teach Sunday School, sing in the choir, help with funeral outreach or any number of charitable endeavors.

Shepherdstown residents have an opportunity to help raise funds for any number of worthy causes, including the American Cancer Society via Relay for Life events. Shepherd University hosts a relay in April, and Jefferson County, as a whole, does another in June. The Identity Crisis event in August raises funds for Breast Cancer Awareness. That event, although held in late summer, involves significant planning through the work of volunteers.

The Shepherdstown Community Club seeks members who help with everything from picnics to the Back Alley Garden Tour. Stop in and see what their next venture may entail.

Any individual seeking to share a bit of their personal time and resources can find the opportunity without too much effort. The need is great and the rewards even greater.