GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Greensboro Urban Ministry executive director Mike Aiken said most community service agencies tend to see a sharp decrease in volunteerism after the holidays. He affirmed the majority of sporadic volunteers offer their time during Thanksgiving and Christmas but do not participate in year-round outreach.
Aiken suggested people make regular volunteering a New Year's resolution by first seeking out one of the wide-range of opportunities available both at Greensboro Urban Ministry and through the Volunteer Center. Urban Ministry volunteer positions include preparing and serving meals, supervising overnight shelter residents, assisting with the winter emergency shelters, transporting food deliveries and helping with accounting and other behind-the-scenes activities.
Aiken said the key in maintaining regular volunteering is making it a part of a routine, like exercise. He said people can schedule, through the volunteer coordinator, regular weekly or monthly shifts in order to carry out an ongoing volunteer commitment.
From volunteering time to volunteering financial donations, Aiken said any and all commitments are immensely helpful in fueling the operation of most non-profits like Urban Ministry. He also asked people to remember that the food pantry supply tends to dwindle at certain points throughout the year, so regular food donations are critical.
Bill Conner, a Greensboro Urban Ministry Board member and 13-year volunteer, and Anne-Christian Johns, a student volunteer, attested to the spiritual and emotional rewards of regular volunteering. Both Johns and Conner said volunteering on a continuous basis allows them to form friendships with not only other volunteers but also with the residents of Greensboro Urban Ministry. Johns said seeing the gratitude these residents express for the volunteers' service is a priceless feeling.
The Volunteer Center, located in Greensboro at 1500 Yanceyville Street, assists community members with finding opportunities that are most suited to their time, skill sets resources. To contact the volunteer center, call 336-373-1633 or visit its website.
WFMY News 2