This week is National Volunteer Week; an occasion to thank those in our community that give their time and energy selflessly to others in order to improve our community. Volunteerism in Canada is something that we should be commended for. Over 50% of Canadians volunteer an average of 160 hours per year towards projects ranging from fundraising and social services to coaching sports teams and working on school committees. It’s an act that can be as simple as offering an hour of your time to drive a patient to a medical appointment or as complex as traveling abroad to assist in international disaster relief.

What is sometimes staggering though is that many people don’t think that they have the time to volunteer their services. The number one reason that people give for not volunteering is that they don’t feel that they have the time to do so or they can’t invest in a long term commitment. The best part about volunteering is that it doesn’t take a lot of time or a huge commitment to make a huge difference in the community.

The Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre, a non-profit organization that offers free essential services to people in need (including the Orléans Food Bank, counseling services for children and adults and a variety of other services for people in need of a hand) is located on Centrum Blvd. Every year, their dedicated team of over 220 volunteers spends over 8000 hours helping members of our community get through difficult personal and financial times.

This coming June, the Orléans Festival will be taking place in and around the Shenkman Arts Centre. It’s a three day festival (June 1st to the 3rd) that celebrates everything that is great about our community. In order for this event to be successful, a team of over 200 volunteers is needed. Currently, the organizing committee is seeking help. Volunteers must be motivated, energetic and interested in having fun.

There are also many other community organizations around Orléans that rely on volunteers to sustain themselves and the services that they provide for the community. Churches, schools, recreational facilities and community centres all need volunteers to maintain the level of service that they’re able to offer us (often times at no cost).

So why not try to make a little bit of time to give back to your community? It’s an enjoyable and rewarding experience that you and your whole family can partake in. At the very least, remember to thank someone that you know that does put some time aside for others and let them know that the work they do is more appreciated than they could possibly know.

For more information about the OCCRC and the programs and services offered (or to volunteer your time) visit www.crcoc.ca

To volunteer for the Orléans Festival, or for more information about the fun and exciting activities going on this year, visit www.orleansfestival.ca

If you would like more information about volunteering in general, visit www.volunteer.ca

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