June 15, 2024


People came for the pamphlets and signed up as volunteers.

The Volunteer Cambridge Fair, hosted by the United Way of Cambridge and North Dumfries, was held at the Cambridge Centre on Sept. 24, and had 20 agencies all offering volunteer opportunities. Some of the agencies on site included Community Support Connections — Meals on Wheels and More, Cambridge Memorial Hospital and KidsAbility.

Sarah Daly, facilitator, community and voluntary sector investment, at the United Way, said they have 65 member agencies that they help recruit volunteers for. The United Way has run Volunteer Cambridge since it nearly closed down four to five years ago due to lack of funds.

Michelle Hughes, volunteer co-ordination lead for Community Support Connections — Meals on Wheels and More, said they have locations in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge and have at least 700 volunteers. They offer non-medical support services such as driver escorts, shopping volunteers and meal support volunteers, to elderly and disabled adults.

They also offer a new gentle exercise program for clients in their homes where volunteers are matched with clients to help ease them into a simple program of 10 exercises. Though hours vary, two hours a week is the minimum volunteers are required to work.

Paul Corkery, manager of volunteer resources at Cambridge Memorial Hospital, said there are many diverse jobs volunteers can do, but the main ones are found in revenue, support services and patient support.

Revenue volunteers help out in one of the retail areas of the hospital but also serve patients along with staff members and visitors. Some of the retail places include the gift shop, the Hospital Elderly Life Program lottery ticket sales and the Recovery Room shop.

Support service volunteers work at the information desk giving directions, helping with volunteer scheduling and, of course, information.

There are six revenue-producing services at the hospital run by the volunteer association. They are the vendor program, fundraising initiatives, the H.E.L.P lottery, the gift shop, the Recovery Room shop and Tim Hortons. All the money raised by the first five services is used to fund the hospital. Tim Hortons must pay the employees but all the profit is directed to the Hospital Foundation as well. There are four volunteers who have been working for over 40 years and 40 volunteers who have been working for more than 10 years. Corkery is the only CMH paid employee.

Annie Crump, volunteer resource service co-ordinator of KidsAbility Centre for Child Development, said volunteers help extend and enhance programs provided by staff. Some of the programs include introduction to swimming, junior kindergarten school programs, therapeutic recreation and early childhood education. There are locations in Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Fergus and Kitchener. KidsAbility was formerly known as the Rotary Children’s Centre. Founded in 1957 it was supported by Rotarians, whose leadership and funding support continues to this day.

Due to the OPSEU strike the Get Involved volunteer fair that was scheduled to take place at Conestoga College the week of Sept. 12 was cancelled.

Anyone wishing to get more information on volunteer opportunities can contact Student Life.

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