We speak of the volunteer, one whose unpaid work and tireless contributions to community causes, is so often the difference between the success and the failure of an outreach.
Look around and it won’t take long to find a volunteer. Their numbers are mighty and their impact is divine.
We don’t ask readers to take our word for it. Go to the site of any nonprofit organization. There, you’ll find the lifeblood of that civic group’s work.
Go to Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland. You’ll find hundreds of eager volunteers building new houses, counseling with prospective homeowners and lifting a hand in the repair of a home in disrepair.
Go to the American Red Cross. You’ll find dedicated volunteers traveling great distances to assist other communities in times of natural disaster; and, you’ll find the same community servants here at home rendering aid to victims of unexpected catastrophe.
Go to the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library. You’ll find smiling volunteers stocking shelves, cleaning and helping to keep alive one of the community’s best kept secrets.
Go to United Way of Bradley County. You’ll find volunteers spreading their wings to any number of member agencies, programs and special services in need of a few hours of free labor. You’ll also come across hundreds of community believers serving as unpaid campaign solicitors, fund distribution panelists and as organization leaders who serve as liaisons between community and the agency.
Go to any number of area nursing homes, retirement facilities and assisted living complexes. You’ll find volunteers serving in multiple capacities on behalf of elderly or debilitated residents whose health or physical circumstances pose day-to-day challenges in living and in life.
Go to Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region. You’ll find swarms of company employees who are giving their time and talents to serve as classroom instructors in hopes of bringing relevant education to our young people whose curriculum does not include certain life skills.
Go to the Museum Center at Five Points. Another of Cleveland’s hidden treasures relies on the good spirits, and the willingness, of volunteers to carry out the countless chores that often go unnoticed to the casual observer.
Go to The Refuge, an East Cleveland center whose volunteers work to empower struggling families in the city’s older neighborhoods where per capita income is low but whose potential for new tomorrows is high.
Go to The Caring Place, a community food pantry whose impact on individuals and families most in need is growing daily through nutrition, counseling, utilities assistance and referrals.
The latter is why we speak of volunteerism today.
Last week, The Caring Place held its 2013 Volunteer Appreciation Day. Fittingly themed “Serving Humbly in Love,” the special occasion honored a full contingent of uncompensated workers. It also bestowed endearing awards upon a few of its finest.
Earning the nonprofit’s Perry Myers Humanitarian Award were Scott and Caroline Arnold. This presentation is made to a person or couple who has volunteered at least one year, displayed a Christ-like attitude and who has made a significant contribution to the civic cause.
Receiving the nonprofit’s Danny O’Neal Servant Award was Arlene Marr. This award is given to faithful volunteers whose work comes mostly behind the scenes.
All three are splendid examples of what service to others is all about. Each is the epitome of volunteerism.
We congratulate this trio, and we thank all volunteers of The Caring Place, for the selfless work they do.
Nonprofit work is difficult. But its dividend is priceless. Its measure is not in the number of zeroes on a pay stub, but in the glow it brings to every beating heart it touches.