Patricia Ridgeway has volunteered at the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center practically since the settlement house was founded.

"I like to keep busy, like to help the community, people who are in need," she said last week.

Brenda Arnold began helping at the CRC two years ago, after longtime friend Katie Palmer became the volunteer coordinator.

"I've known her forever," Arnold said. "She kept kind of prodding me."

Michele Kenny moved to Clintonville two years ago and was seeking ways to get to know her new community better. An online search brought her to the CRC.

"I started to volunteer here and I was actually amazed at what they do," she said. "I was in awe for a long time, actually."

When she retired four years ago, Laura Huston-Hoburg sought something to keep her occupied, and found it at the resources center.

"I wanted to volunteer my time somewhere since I had more time," she said. "I was aware of the good things that it did, and it's a good group of people to work with."

These women are among the 600-plus volunteers who are vital to the operation of the CRC.

To thank them, the annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 20 at the Clintonville Woman's Club, 3951 N. High St.

Local restaurants will provide the meal as the CRC celebrates its volunteers.

Cliff Wiltshire, CRC development director, credits Palmer with increasing the number of volunteers.

"Under Katie Palmer's leadership, our volunteer effort has really evolved and grown," Wiltshire wrote in an email. "We now have more than 800 names in our volunteer database, and our helpers range from volunteering once a year during the holidays to weekly help with our produce giveaway."

"It's the way of Jesus ... helping people who don't have the benefits others have," Ridgeway said. "It's just a good feeling to work and help other people out."

Arnold said she is glad she eventually gave in to prodding by Palmer and began volunteering, initially at the CRC's Third Thursday fundraisers and more recently through visits to a senior citizen.

"It's been an eye-opener," Arnold said. "What it does, it keeps me grounded."

Spending time with the older woman has been a pleasant experience for Arnold.

"She's kind of a firecracker," she said. "You get to visit with someone who's been through a different experience from you. It makes me very grateful, and it really does renew my spirit. That's selfish, but that's what it does for me."

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1