July 17th, 2024

Volunteers desperately needed in community

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on July 5, 2024.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Community members visit some of the booths from the various local organizations looking for volunteers during a recent recruitment event at the Galt Museum.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Volunteers are an important part of the community and for many organizations they are the force that helps them get through every day which makes the need for helping hands dire at the moment.

Last week multiple organizations gathered at the Galt Museum and Archives in hopes of recruiting volunteers for their various needs as they continue to seek out volunteers every day.

One of the organizations was the Leftovers Food Foundation, and Apollo Lelond who is their city coordinator told the Herald that they seek to conquer food waste and food insecurity and for that, they rely heavily on volunteers.

“We’re kind of a small tight-knit community at the moment. We are an organization that gets in contact with a lot of different businesses in the city that have leftover produce and perishable food items that they don’t necessarily want to sell the next day, but do not want to throw out in the garbage and let it go to waste,” said Lelond.

He explained that volunteers are needed to pick up and transport the food from the business to the organization that will take it, which includes after school programs and food banks.

“As long as you have a big heart and a car, that’s all we’re really looking for. As well as anyone who has that food to donate. If it hurts their heart to put it in the trash, I encourage them to contact us and we’d be happy to help them ferry it to somewhere that really needs it,” said Lelond.

Those interested in either volunteer or donate food are asked to contact them at help@rescuefood.ca

Another organization present at the event was Youth One and Bri Thomas, program coordinator, youth and family support and founding partner, told the Herald they are always looking for volunteers.

“We have youth from ages 11 to 18 that come for a variety of programs. We have separate programs for middle school and high school. During the school year we have a lunch program, after school drop in for both high school and middle school,” said Thomas.

She added they also offer a sports program and a program that helps youth create their resume and finding jobs.

We also help them with homework or if they just have a spare and they don’t know where to go they can totally come to Youth One,” said Thomas.

She said they are looking for a variety of volunteers, who have different gifts and abilities.

If you don’t necessarily like youth, but you like food and cooking and baking, we’re always looking for someone who wants to help make lunch, or bake and serve it,” said Thomas.

She added they are also looking for mentors, people to help youth create meaningful connections with as some of them do not have someone in their lives they connect with.

“We ask for commitment of at least once a week, because consistency is huge when it comes to building connections,” said Thomas.

Those interested in volunteer can contact Youth One by calling (403) 380-4426, by emailing info@youthone.ca or by stopping by at 1303 13 Street North.

St. John Ambulance was also looking for volunteers during the event and still are.

Michelle Park, training and community service coordinator for the Lethbridge area, told the Herald they are looking for volunteers in two key areas that basically had to rebuild their volunteer base after dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Those areas are the First Aid Response and Therapy Dog programs.

“The big one that we offer is medical first aid coverage for events,” such as Canada Day,said Park.

She said as a volunteer people receive training for the medical first responders course free of charge if they have an intermediate first aid certificate.

“If volunteers will have to pay for it and it’s a big issue, they can let me know and we can work something out, but the actual medical first responder training is free and then once you’re done doing that then you can actually decide what events you would like to come to,” said Park.

As for the therapy dog program, Park said anyone who has a dog who is at least two years old, is well behaved and has been owned by the person for at least a year can apply.

“Ideally we like the dog to be two years old just because it’s a little bit more mature, less hyper. If you would like to apply you can do so at http://www.sja.ca, go under the volunteer tab and there’s more information about what we do for therapy dogs,” said Park.

Once the process is complete Park said therapy dogs and their owners can visit seniors home, different areas of the hospital and other settings like schools during exams as the dogs are provided with a leash and collar that showcases they are therapy dogs.

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