While looking for a topic to contribute to our “Senior Living” section this week I stumbled across something I had heard about for a while, but to which I had not paid much attention. I understand that Peabody Senior Center is in need of help from a special group of people — volunteers. After I decided this might make a good addition to our special section I sat down with center’s site manager, Ruth Lott, and she filled me in on the many ways volunteers provide help.
The members of the Peabody Senior Center do many things themselves, but as they get older, the help of younger and stronger bodies, quicker hands, and legs with greater stamina means more and more. Their volunteers are a much-needed and appreciated group. As I talked with Ruth Lott about the issue, I realized that not so long ago most of the center’s members donated time and service to the community as our volunteers.
I remember many of them doing duty on countless committees, on the chamber of commerce, church groups, Kiwanis, Jaycees, booster clubs, school board, Pride, and city council. They chaperoned junior high and high school parties, made scalloped potatoes and baked beans for the band barbecue and Memorial Day dinner, read to kindergartners, checked math homework at the grade school, stitched theater costumes, and coached biddy basketball.
I bet there is no formal accounting of the money they raised to build the municipal swimming pool, to pay for uniforms or pep club shirts, scholarships, eye glasses for needy kids, school trips, supplies and equipment for summer sports, park and pool equipment, special summer camps, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, Christmas gifts for needy children, and dozens of other worthy causes. However, I expect the total is in the thousands of dollars.
People in their age bracket sponsored decades of July Fourth celebrations, Christmas treats and visits with Santa, Easter egg hunts, Halloween parades, community feeds, rallies in honor of winning teams, fundraisers or harvest or building help for local families that fell on hard times, and dozens of other events that only a small community can pull off successfully before it quickly moves on to another.
The people that helped with all of those things did have younger and stronger bodies, quicker hands, and legs with greater stamina. They did it all selflessly and with enthusiasm because that was what was needed to solve a problem. They were volunteers for you, for your children, and perhaps your grandchildren. They paid it forward.
Now it would be great if you, your children, or grandchildren would pay it back – offer your volunteer services in return. Help them solve their problem. We are talking a couple of hours a month. How tough could that be?
It is time to return the favor. Become a volunteer!
— SUSAN MARSHALL