Eric Ehst, Executive Director
It’s May and it’s already getting hot. If you’re reading this, it means you haven’t left town like many of your neighbors. It also means it’s time for my annual (desperate) appeal. Neighbors Who Care has about 1300 active clients; the vast majority of them are homebound and cannot leave for cooler climes in the summer. They still need to go to the doctor, get groceries, have meals delivered, have A/C filters replaced and all of the other little things our volunteers do that enable them to continue to live safely in their own homes.
Make no mistake; many of the people our volunteers help would be lost without our assistance: people like Ed and Mary. He suffers from Alzheimer’s and Mary is his full-time caregiver. But she had a brain tumor and the surgery left her partially paralyzed. Without volunteers to take her to radiation therapy, physical therapy, deliver meals and provide respite care for Ed when she is at her own medical appointments, they would end up separated and confined to nursing homes or other facilities which they cannot afford. This is the difference that NWC volunteers make in people’s lives.
Our annual problem: 40 percent of our regular volunteers leave town for the summer, go on well-deserved vacations, or are otherwise unavailable from late April to early October. As a result, the remaining volunteers are called more often and worked harder to provide those vital services our clients need to survive. Our office volunteers are also overworked, prioritizing vital needs like chemotherapy appointments and making multiple phone calls to find available volunteers. Sadly, in the summer we occasionally have to tell a homebound grandmother that no one is available to help and she is forced to cancel that doctor’s appointment or other vital trip.
If you or someone you know has a little extra time to spare, we could really use your help. Volunteering is easy. We have a wide variety of jobs to fit almost anyone’s talents and interests. Better yet we have flexible hours and no minimum time commitment. You are free to work as much or as little as you want and you can turn down any request. The best part is the joy and satisfaction you get from knowing you are making life better for your neighbors. Once you receive the heartfelt thanks of someone you have helped and see the look of gratitude on his or her face you’ll be hooked.
If you have a little time (and a lot of heart) and would like to experience the deep personal satisfaction that comes from volunteering to assist your neighbors, contact us at 480-895-7133 (www.neighborswhocare.com).