In essence, volunteering is giving freely of oneself to a cause. The world is a better place because of that inclination to share the gift of time with others.
This year has made that quite difficult.
People tend to forget what hasn’t been accomplished this year or enjoyed last year due to COVID-19 pandemic regulations.
The list of what we will miss again this year continues to grow. The Highland Games, Lions Home Show, most fall fairs, amateur theatre – and so much more. News this week that schools will remain closed and lockdown rules will tighten, only exacerbates feelings of resentment and sadness so many of us share.
That is however the reality as political masters and hired professionals attempt to navigate a crisis not seen in our lifetimes.
None of that will ever stop the chance to dream a little.
Many service clubs have done their level best to keep engaging members. Zoom meetings are just not the same as the real thing and mirror our thoughts on home-based work – there is something tragically missing for the human spirit.
The Lions talk of tail twisters and Rotarians have their happy bucks which are all fun cultural aspects for the group. The energy at meetings can be electric as people press the flesh and participate. It is real.
We have been thinking too of the many theatre troupes, some of which have tried the online thing. Good on them, but it isn’t the same. Live theatre draws the audience in, and all the other stuff going on – the camaraderie of all the players working together to please the audience – is all part of the charm of a wholesome, community experience. Whether a person attends to see a relative, friend or a neighbour down the street, it is the connectedness of people that makes the event magical.
Other cultural pastimes remain impacted. Whether that be the Highland Games celebrating the Scots or fall fairs across Wellington, the chance to ensconce oneself in celebrating culture is far easier in person with the sights, sounds and smells that go with the day.
Most of these pastimes are made possible due to volunteers – people who give freely of their time to help others enjoy the day.
Volunteers are not confined to entertaining others. Many people perform valuable community service without which recipients would find it pretty tough.
Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, food banks, hospital auxiliaries, school program volunteers and countless more; there are literally thousands of people around the county who enrich the lives of others.
Although this past year and a bit has presented challenges not contemplated, volunteers make the difference between just getting by in life or being alive and enjoying life.
If you volunteer already, thank you. If you are thinking about it, get on with it and find a place that needs your help.
Everyone has a chance to make a difference for those around them. As we emerge from this pandemic the needs will be great and we strongly encourage readers to take stock of their abilities and consider the gift of time serving others.
One of the biggest chores will be helping people learn to embrace again as we escape the clutches of pandemic protocols.
A firm handshake, a warm hug – it can’t come soon enough – but we will wait and dream a little of that great day ahead.