Whether it’s helping with administrative work, organizing special fundraisers, sorting donations at Vicky’s Values or sitting on committees, our volunteers work tireless alongside our wonderful staff, all with the ultimate goal of making life better for women and their children in our community coping with abuse and intimate partner violence. Even now, when the pandemic prevents them from doing many of the tasks they would normally undertake, volunteers are still contributing their time, efforts, creativity and kindness in virtually everything Women’s Resources does.
In 2019-20, there were 148 people on our volunteer roster. But the truly impressive figure is the number of hours they provided: a total of 13,250, although undoubtedly many more hours have gone uncounted because these selfless folks didn’t see them as a big deal.
Vicky’s Values, our Unique Boutique, has many jobs for our enthusiastic volunteers: putting clothing and housewares on display, sorting the new items that arrive, working the cash, welcoming customers and more. Cathy Newton retired to Lindsay after a career in Toronto with a health charity. “I was overwhelmed by the generosity of volunteers there, and my goal was that when I got out of my busy job I’d do what I could to help out.”
She started in the store at Vicky’s Values six years ago, and now spends most of her volunteer time in a different part of the building, with the food cupboard program that provides nutritious groceries and personal care items for Women’s Resources clients. “I had a desk job for 30 years, so being able to meet people has been really rewarding. The staff are wonderful—they really make you feel part of the team.”
Jane Chapman is the chair of the Women’s Resources Board, where she’s been involved for four years. Her career in social services in Durham Region means she has a long-standing familiarity with domestic violence, so when she retired, she naturally decided to continue in the field as a volunteer. “When you get into this work, it’s very hard to leave it behind. I wanted to make some kind of difference.”
Although her tenure has encompassed many new difficulties as a result of the pandemic, the board continues to meet and work remotely. Board members participate in committees and task groups such as the relatively new advocacy task group, and continue to learn about issues related to abuse and violence against women at education sessions held at every board meeting. “It’s a very engaged Board,” she says. “Ideas flow from there all the time.”
To someone mulling over the idea of volunteering, Chapman says “I would tell them that it’s a fantastic organization—it’s well-run and it does good work. If you ask any of our volunteers, they’d say the same thing.”
Newton agrees. “I would say ‘Go for it.’ You’ll meet some great people, and it’s a great use of your time.” The women she meets at the food cupboard are a poignant reminder of why volunteers are so essential. “It’s sad there is such a need, but wonderful to know there’s an organization like Women’s Resources to help.”
To Cathy, Jane and all of the compassionate, thoughtful, dedicated, hard-working volunteers who give of themselves to help others, we can only say…THANK YOU!
By Nancy Payne