Sylvia Massey was an ardent volunteer for the Chemainus Harvest House food bank. (Photo submitted)

Volunteer spirit important factor

Communities this size rely on dedicated people to keep organizations functioning

It’s so important to appreciate our volunteers while they’re still here, but also to find new recruits all the time to keep our organizations running smoothly.

The Chemainus Harvest House food bank held a celebration for long-time volunteer Sylvia Massey in September and that turned out to be extremely timely after she died on Remembrance Day 2019.

We all know no one is going to live forever and the spirit of some of our greatest volunteers always lives on through those who step up to fill the void.

Acting chair Jan Aikman acknowledges Massey left big shoes to fill, but the motivation of the membership has never been stronger to continue the hard work in her honour and for those who’ve made it a priority to provide assistance to a segment of the population. Best of all, the public has responded to the cause, particularly during this past Christmas season and into the new year.

“We’re to the roof with food,” said Aikman. “It’s incredible.”

Massey always maintained a low profile and didn’t want any credit for the incredible number of hours she devoted to help those in need. Her final request was simply to send donations to the food bank.

The aging factor remains not so much a concern but a fact that most organizations are facing.

“We have a lot of members who are in their late 70s or early 80s,” pointed out Aikman.

It’s the same for most groups in town, with the same people doing the same jobs for a long time.

New blood in the form of recent retirees or younger people are especially helpful because of their computer skills that are so crucial today for service clubs or volunteer organizations to get their messages across.

There have also been a lot of new people moving into the area so it’s hoped some of them will come forward to offer their services in whatever capacity suits them.

The younger generation – in fact, school-aged kids – are also more aware these days of what it means to help others. That will surely create a bright future for the betterment of health care, sports groups and general healthy living for those who make up the fabric of our community.

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