A different kind of volunteer week

Celebrating volunteer week is an annual tradition at Lennoxville and District Community Aid because of the vital role that community helpers play in the various projects of the organization. Although things are a little different this year, that recognition of volunteers remains the same.
“The meals are still going out,” said Community Aid’s Executive Director Sylvie Gilbert Fowlis, explaining that although about half of the organization’s regular volunteers for the meals on wheels program are not able to go out in public right now, the community has stepped up in a big way to help fill the gaps. “Each day we have a nice mix of regulars and newcomers,” she shared.
Melanie Cutting, who has been volunteering with the organization for almost a decade, said that the main change to the offering at the moment is social.
“What’s new is that now we don’t interact with the people.”
According to Cutting, instead of meeting people at the door, volunteers now leave the meal on the porch or in a chosen receptacle.
“It’s not hugely different, but it’s certainly safer,” she continued, adding that she follows each delivery with a spray of hand sanitizer. “I keep some in the car. I think everybody does now.”
Fowlis pointed out that the procedure for meal pick-up is also subject to new guidelines.
“Typically there would have been room for a bit of chat,” the director said, explaining that under normal circumstances the volunteers packed the meals themselves at the Community Aid offices before heading out for delivery. Now the team members have to spread out in the parking lot and wait to be called over one by one to pick up a prepared bag
“It’s a little less personal than normal, but it is good that it can continue,” she said, expressing gratitude for volunteers who are willing and able to work under more challenging constraints.

Published in the Tuesday, April 21 edition of The Record.

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