“A town can’t function without volunteers.” says Heartland Health volunteer co-ordinator Celeste Bridgeman .
About 40 Wilkie and area residents were entertained, fed and given door prizes at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Tea in the New Horizons Hall in Wilkie, SK, April 14. The afternoon, was sponsored by Heartland Health Region.
National Volunteer Week ran the week before, April 6 to 12.
Bridgeman shared some facts from Statistics Canada.
Saskatchewan has the highest rate of volunteerism in Canada – 58 per cent of the population did volunteer work in 2012.
In all of Canada, over 13.3 million individuals volunteer, 47 per cent of people. StatCan’s press release stated “a relatively small percentage — 10 per cent — accounted for 53 per cent of all hours given to non-profit and charitable organizations.
“These ‘10 per centers’ logged a minimum of 390 volunteer hours each on an annual basis, the equivalent of 10 weeks in a full-time job.
“There’s no explanation about why Saskatchewan has the highest volunteer rate, although the study notes that rates of volunteering are consistently higher in rural regions.”
Bridgeman said volunteers in any capacity are always appreciated, but right now she is especially short of volunteer drivers. Anyone willing to donate time to drive the handi-van, deliver Meals on Wheels or take residents to out-of-town appointments can contact Bridgeman at 306-228-8887.
Al Gil of Wilkie and Leon Ochs of Landis donated their time and talents to the afternoon, playing guitars and singing.
Hazel Lorenz, a member of the board of directors for Heartland Health Region, helped Bridgeman hand out the large number of door prizes, many donated by businesses in Wilkie and Unity and some by individuals. There were enough door prizes for everyone to win at least one.
We all know good deeds like random acts of kindness and volunteering in a non-profit organization “make you feel good.” Medical research backs that up. Not only do volunteers have better mental health, an article on the Harvard Medical School blog references a study which found volunteers generally have lower blood pressure and longer lifespans.
The Wilkie volunteers all left the event with smiles on their faces. Having a special moment to visit with friends and enjoy refreshments and entertainment, and receiving a small gift, was the icing on the cake for these residents who take the time to help others in the community.