Volunteer Fair to be held in Gananoque

As a way to help connect a variety of community groups in the area, as well as to put the word out for the need for volunteerism, Gananoque Deputy Mayor Vicki Leakey has helped create another volunteer fair.

This year’s Volunteer Fair will be held April 23 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Gananoque Curling Club.

“Many retirees as well as newcomers to our community have asked me about what groups are active in town,” said Leakey.

“In my mind, it appears volunteering is mostly about socialization, particularly for retirees that miss morning conversations in the coffee room. For younger working residents volunteering is about connecting with your community. My former employer encouraged us to volunteer as having their staff helping community groups was also great advertising for the business.

"Personally, I volunteer to put value back in my day. No, there is no paycheque, however, the continuous support from this community and the opportunity to continue to learn from so many of our senior residents is priceless. I am happy to say there is not a week that goes by that I have not learned something new.”

Leakey said that if someone is interested in volunteering, there is no need to worry about any expected time commitment.

“It’s all-important time for the groups looking for support,” said Leakey.

There is no cost to participate in next week’s Volunteer Fair.

“This is an event that is communication driven,” said Leakey. “I am hoping all community groups are reaching out to residents to encourage them to come and see what they might be able to help with.”

Sarah Dodgson, with Senior Support Services, said a volunteer fair like the one set for Gananoque is important.

“It is a great opportunity for those who are interested in volunteering their time to see what opportunities each organization has to offer and find the best opportunity that aligns with their passions,” said Dodgson.

She added the biggest area of need for volunteerism within Senior Support Services is supporting the transportation program by helping to provide transportation for seniors to local medical appointments and to out-of-town specialist appointments. There are also volunteer opportunities currently in the Senior Support Services’ exercise and falls prevention classes.

“We rely on a large number of volunteers to make the work we do here possible, and it is great to see so many people looking to support.”

Andrew Kent, the community safety officer with the Gananoque Fire Service, said he’s excited for the upcoming volunteer fair.

“It really gives us the opportunity to connect with the public with regards to what we do in the fire department, provide the information necessary for an individual who is eager or looking into participating as a paid on-call firefighter within the community,” said Kent. “This will give them the ability to know how to apply, the steps and processes in becoming a firefighter.”

Shannon Griggs, with the Gananoque and Area Food Bank, echoed Kent’s excitement.

“We have a few new opportunities,” said Griggs. “We’ll be looking for some new volunteers to take on some new responsibilities. This also gives us the opportunity to meet with other community agencies, which we never get the chance to do, see what they’re doing and see if there is any chance for us to work together.”

(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)

Keith Dempsey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times