12/15/08 — Local organizations can use volunteers for holidays, too

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Local organizations can use volunteers for holidays, too

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on December 15, 2008 1:46 PM

Many people in Wayne Country are struggling to afford their own basic necessities, much less pay for an extravagant Christmas, and big hearts are clashing with thin wallets when charities knock on the door.

For people seeking to help others during the holidays but unable to donate money, volunteering time and skills can be just as meaningful to non-profits as signing a check.

Most people don't volunteer because they don't know how to get started, but there is an easy solution, said Barbara Stiles, director of Volunteer Wayne and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.

"Go with a friend," Mrs. Stiles said. "People can ask someone they know volunteers."

Even though Volunteer Wayne, itself a victim of budget cuts, will be closing its doors on Dec. 31, the program is still working through the holidays to help volunteers connect with non-profit and charitable agencies.

There couldn't be a better time to lend a helping hand, Mrs. Stiles said.

"A lot of agencies we work with are being faced with layoffs," she said.

Volunteering doesn't have to be time consuming or monotonous.

For bargain-hunter shopaholics, the Goldsboro Family YMCA is seeking assistance for the Y's Men event on Dec. 18, said Kriquette Davis, YMCA assistant executive director.

"We absolutely do need volunteers," Mrs. Davis said.

The YMCA needs people to help families shop for clothes and toys and to keep the children entertained. Call 778-8557 for details.

Cherry Hospital could also use help shopping for Operation Santa Claus, which purchases gifts for patients without family or friends, Mrs. Stiles said. The program strives to make sure no one in Wayne County is forgotten at Christmas. For further information, contact the Mental Health Association at 734-3530.

For volunteers already shopped out this holiday season, try a change of pace and spend an afternoon playing basketball or board games with the children at the Boys and Girls club, or help the students with their homework.

The Boys and Girls Club screens volunteers and provides an orientation for newcomers, and has functions year-round in a variety of programs and areas. For more information, call 735-2358.

It's not even necessary to leave the house to be an asset to a charity or nonprofit. People with programming or coding skills can help organizations by building or maintaining Web sites for the agencies from the comfort of their own homes, Mrs. Stiles said.

These are just a few of the various ways to make an impact in the community even if money is tight this year.

Until Dec. 31, volunteers can also visit the Volunteer Wayne Web site at http://www.volunteersolutions.org/uwwc/volunteer/ or call the program at 735-5151, extension 702 for assistance in finding a way to donate time and skills to make Wayne County a better place to live at Christmas and throughout the year.