By KAREN HAYNES
Winter draws closer with every fallen leaf and many Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and North Dumfries residents look to local community organizations to assist in their day-to-day activities.
With colder weather around the corner, Community Support Connections Meals on Wheels and More (CSC) desperately needs more volunteers to help meet a seasonal influx of service demands, said Rosalind Horne, CSC’s resource department co-ordinator on Nov. 9.
Since May 2008 CSC, located at 420 Weber St. N. in Waterloo, has offered local seniors and adults who need assistance a variety of services that allow them to continue living at home.
While most are seniors, CSC also offers assistance to adults with debilitating terminal illnesses.
Many require a volunteer to routinely drive them to ordinary places including the grocery store or a doctor’s appointment, she said.
Friendly visiting and transportation are two CSC services that increase in popularity, therefore requiring more volunteers, when winter’s bad weather and fewer daylight hours arrive, said Horne.
Approximately 700 volunteers work to meet the needs of over 3,300 CSC clients and are at risk of becoming overworked this winter, she said.
“Volunteers are working overtime and it’s not a sustainable long-term solution.”
A variety of volunteer opportunities are available for anyone interested: behind-the-scenes, in the office or out working with clients, Horne said.
Volunteers are expected to provide a police record check and when applicable, a driver’s abstract.
Jeremy Leckie, a CSC volunteer, said there are three categories of people who use the organization’s services: those with a financial need who cannot afford cabs, those who are isolated and those who need physical assistance.
Maintaining their dignity is a key component, he said.
“No one wants to be a burden on their children or family.”
Leckie, in his early 40s, has volunteered with CSC for seven months and is mainly involved in the transportation and friendly visiting services.
Volunteering with CSC is easy to fit into the day; depending on your schedule the organization allows for great flexibility or regularity, he said.
“Being engaged in and supporting the community is immensely rewarding. It changes your mindset.”
Ruth Shantz, a widow and CSC client, primarily requires transportation to doctor’s appointments and blood tests, she said.
Shantz stopped driving in 2006 when her eyesight became too poor. For the last five years, the transportation service offered by CSC is the only way she can get to her doctor’s appointments, she said.
“I really don’t know what I’d do without them.”
For more volunteer information visit www.communitysupportconnections.org/content/volunteer or call 519-772-8787.