CRC fetes 'integral' volunteers at April 25 event

More than 300 volunteers gave time to resources center last year


Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center officials will take some time next week to say a heartfelt thanks to those who gave hundreds of hours of their time last year in helping thousands of people.

The recognition event is set from 5:30 to 7 p.m. next Thursday, April 25, at the Whetstone Park shelter house.

April 21-27 is National Volunteers Week.

More than 300 volunteers helped the CRC serve thousands of clients during 2012, according to an announcement of the April 25 event. Those efforts ranged from unloading food from the Mid-Ohio Foodbank trucks on Tuesday nights to planting community gardens, helping senior citizens fill out their tax forms and collecting and cleaning used dolls to prepare as Christmas gifts.

Between 75 and 100 people are expected to attend the CRC gathering, said Stephanie Baker, associate director.

Anyone who has volunteered for the center in the last year and a half is invited to attend, she said. Those who wish to do so should call Baker at 614-268-3539.

"We're hoping to hear some testimony from some of the volunteers about why they volunteer," Baker said last week.

Officials with the center know why they're grateful for the volunteers.

"A lot of important work is done in Clintonville by people who are volunteering their time and efforts," said Bill Owens, the CRC's executive director.

"They're absolutely integral to all of our programming," Baker said. "We wouldn't be able to function without them."

The volunteers get back something as well, above and beyond an evening set aside to thank them, she added.

"I think they get satisfaction from giving back to the community," Baker said. "I think that it's unique in that they get to give back to the neighborhood in which they live, too."

Jackie Barr has been volunteering at the Community Resources Center for the past two and a half years. She goes in once a week and helps out with whatever needs to be done, she said.

"It could be anything from helping in the clothing boutique to bagging food, and I've also done data entry, and I've done grant search -- and I'm also on the fundraising committee," Barr said. "I'm one of those people. I just believe that we are supposed to give back to our community and I try to do it in any way I can.

"Personally, I just feel like it's my duty."

Lauren Salamon, a senior sociology major at Ohio State University, said she was thinking of volunteering at the CRC, but then discovered an internship was available last summer. Salamon served as volunteer coordinator during the internship, making sure people who turned up to help had something useful to do.

Although she has completed the educational requirement, Salamon has continued to volunteer since the beginning of this year. She helps out every Wednesday with the distribution of fresh produce dropped off by Mid-Ohio Foodbank trucks the previous evening.

"I figured I would focus on one day and program, and I thought that kind of was a good one since produce is a healthy part of the diet and people need it," Salamon said. "I think a lot of it just has to do with trying to give back.

"You're, like, actually seeing the people that you're helping," she added. "I think that is a big draw for the CRC. It's not overwhelming or too big."

For more information about the CRC, the services provided and volunteer opportunities available, visit clintonville or call 614-268-3539.