Several volunteer opportunities available
By Jim Palmer
This spring, Senior Perspective sent a call out to all volunteer groups in our distribution area. Groups were asked to send us information about their organization and the volunteer opportunities they currently offer by May 1.
We received many responses from this call out. This month, in all five editions, we are listing the volunteer opportunities in those specific areas. This list includes volunteer organizations in and around the territory of this edition.
Thanks to all those groups who responded. We hope that you (our readers) will take a look at these opportunities with an open mind/heart and think about what you can do to help. Volunteers are a huge part of any thriving community and we can all do something to help.
Wadena Pilots Association Inc
The Wadena Pilot Association helps with the airport, and provides two $1,000 aviation scholarships per year. They also provide a free fly-in (July 24 this year) with a free toy raffle and other activities for kids. They need help with supervising kids and guiding people for airplane rides.
For questions, visit Facebook/Wadena Pilots Association Inc., or contact Dano Ostrander at 218- 282-6623 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Bill Knutson at 715-212-8315 (text preferred) or email@example.com
Civil Air Patrol (CAP)
CAP is a congressionally chartered, federally funded, 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, and the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. The group helps to save lives through search and rescue missions, shape the future of youth through youth development and aerospace programs, and serve communities through emergency services and humanitarian relief. Everyday CAP members are flying missions in support of the Air Force and other government agencies, conducting weekly youth development programs, and supporting teachers and schools with aerospace and STEM curriculum and materials.
CAP is a public service organization for carrying out emergency services and disaster relief missions nationwide. Citizen volunteers search for and find the lost, provide comfort in times of disaster, and work to keep our homeland safe. Members devote their time, energy, and expertise toward the well-being of their communities, while also promoting aviation and related fields through aerospace education, and helping shape future leaders through CAP’s cadet program. Youth from 12-18 years of age can join CAP’s Cadet Program where they learn about aviation and the military and develop leadership and teamwork skills in a year-round youth program. Adult member opportunities include helping mentor youth, assisting in search and rescue operations, and volunteer flying.
Almost any citizen who passes an FBI background check can join Civil Air patrol.
Senior Squadrons are made up of adult members. Cadet Squadrons are made up of youth and adult members. Composite Squadrons are a blend of adult and youth members. Family involvement is encouraged.
Learn more about Civil Air Patrol by visiting gocivilairpatrol.com, or find a squadron in Minnesota at MNWG.cap.gov/join. The local contact is Lt. Col. Bonnie Braun of Osakis at 703-477-6868 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I learned about Civil Air Patrol (CAP) through informational literature, and speaking with members at a couple of squadron meetings. CAP volunteers save lives, shaped futures, and provide emergency services. Once I understood the mission and opportunities of this great organization, I was eager to start my journey as a member,” said Bonnie Braun. “I started my membership when I lived in the East Coast Region over 34 years ago, and have continued as a volunteer member when I moved to Central Region 12 years ago. I’ve met and become friends with hundreds of Civil Air Patrol volunteers across the United States. I’ve attended and provided several learning sessions at squadron meetings, state, region, and national CAP conferences. I would absolutely recommend Civil Air Patrol as a wonderful volunteer organization for adults of any age, and youth ages 12 and up. A great organization to feel a sense of belonging.”
Douglas County Historical Society
The mission of Douglas County Historical Society is to discover, preserve, and disseminate the history of the county and its people. Many hands are needed to achieve this mission.
The Historical Society is housed in the historic Knute Nelson home at 1219 Nokomis in Alexandria. Pre-Covid, there were tours available of the house and collections. The pandemic dampened the enthusiasm of many volunteers and so we have had to discontinue tours.
Volunteers are welcome to organize collection displays, clean, catalog, work on the grounds, and do research for those who request information. There are also outreach opportunities available such as cemetery workdays, Hotdish Bakeoff, and educational forums and workshops. A passion for history and attention to detail is helpful as a volunteer.
For more information, call 320-762-0382 or email email@example.com.
“I started volunteering last summer because the gardens surrounding the Knute Nelson house were out of control,” said Cindy Anderson of Farwell. “With the help of another volunteer, we started digging out weeds and I continued with weeding and planting. There has been a need for someone to catalog accessions since they had been piling up in the basement, so that is my current task. We hope to update our software this year, pending receipt of grant funds, which will help us make our collections accessible online. If received, it will take many volunteer hours to accomplish the conversion. Volunteering with the DCHS will help to preserve and share this invaluable treasure of artifacts and stories for future generations.”
Pass It On Ministries Thrift Store, Pelican Rapids
The Pass It On Ministries Thrift Store has been in operation for 20 years and has given away over 600,000 to local and international non-profit organizations. It is staffed fully with volunteers who fix, clean, organize, design, and sell used items. The group has several opportunities to serve in a variety of capacities. There is always availability to come and work, even for a few hours. The only requirement to volunteer is the willingness to help, and the ability to stand for small stretches. There are also opportunities to repair and haul heavier items. The Thrift Shop even has a volunteer who does knife sharpening to bring in extra profit for the store.
“I was able to start a volunteer shift 18 months ago as a fill-in for someone else and absolutely love it,” said Nikki Hahn. “I have met so many people and made connections and look forward to it every week. I’m a mom of two teens with busy schedules, and I work part time as a dental hygienist and do other work in the area. This fits my volunteer schedule perfectly once a week. I truly wish that everyone would find a place to volunteer in their community if even once a month. It brings the community together, and there are always more connections made. Then you can imagine helping other people and organizations. I would recommend ours to work at for sure! We are located directly across from the library and next to the food bank. It’s a perfect place to be for our new immigrants to our community. We all take for granted the opportunity to be able to drive and purchase what we need. For some that I get to see on a weekly or monthly they are coming to us to help them get their basic needs and for clothes and kitchen and bathroom items. It’s such a necessity in the community and, like I said, our profits go back into our community organizations.”
For more information, contact Diane MacGregor at 218-863-1477.
Atwater Area Living at Home Block Nurse Program
Atwater Area Help for Seniors provides core home-based services including transportation, service coordination, caregiver support, friendly visiting and phone calls, homemaking, chores, lawn equipment, foot care, home safety checks, deliveries of meals, groceries, and prescriptions. They also provide health and wellness education, exercise class and SAIL, walking group, and its annual health fair. Services are provided by community volunteers. Service area includes Atwater and surrounding townships in the 56209 zip code area.
For more information, contact Deb Friedrichs at 320-974-8737, or Lori Hutchinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
General Federation of Women’s Club (GFWC) Starbuck (formerly known as the Study Club)
The GFWC in Starbuck has been a club of volunteer service in the community of Starbuck since its beginning in 1925. It is a member of clubs throughout the United States and the world belonging to the International Organization. Being affiliated with organizations worldwide gives GFWC a lot of resources. GFWC functions under the motto, “Unity in Diversity,” meaning we look for unity, but unity in diversity.
The club members here in Starbuck have continued to have projects that have not only improved their community but has enhanced the lives of children, adults, families in need, supported education, environment, civic activities, and the arts. Over the years, some of the GFWC projects have included remodeling the hospital in Glenwood, purchasing equipment for the hospital, furnishing a room for the Minnewaska Lutheran Retirement Home, supporting Someplace Safe services, compiling and printing Starbuck history books, saving the Starbuck Depot, assisting in community gatherings, reopening the Snack Shack at the Starbuck Beach (among other beach projects), beautification efforts in Starbuck, and helping with programs like Soles 4 Souls and Feed My Starving Children. The GFWC in Starbuck meets on Thursdays at 7 p.m. Those interested should contact Mona Gregerson at 320-239-4307 or email@example.com.
AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP serving Central Minnesota
AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP is a national organization sponsored locally by the City of St. Cloud to serve Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, and Wright Counties. The group fosters engagement of volunteers 55+ to improve lives and strengthen communities with a goal to promote positive and healthy aging while meeting critical community needs with the help of RSVP volunteers. In 2022, the program had 970 active volunteers who put in more than 95,000 hours at 136 different organizations.
AmeriCorps amplifies the volunteer opportunities available through Community Partners… including 130 nonprofits, licensed healthcare facilities, and government entities. They also host three signature programs: Happiness in Action, Readers Theater, and Warm Fuzzies.
RSVP staff keeps a pulse on the volunteer needs of their Community Partners to invite and support RSVP volunteers to share their skills and interests in one-time and ongoing volunteer roles. Volunteers choose which skills/qualifications they’d like to share. Options range from professional skills, like creative writing or tutoring and more.
For more information, contact Jennifer Wucherer or Tauna Quimby at 320-255-7295 or Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org or Tauna.email@example.com.
Stevens Community Medical Center (SCMC)
The purpose of SCMC volunteer program is to provide services to the hospital and clinic, as well as the patients, while promoting the health and welfare of the community. There are many opportunities to volunteer at SCMC. Volunteers can donate their time in the SCMC Gift Shop, greet and escort patients, assist at events, and perform daily tasks.
To volunteer at SCMC, applicants must submit to a background check, participate in privacy education, and provide required vaccination records and tests.
To become a volunteer at SCMC, contact Nancy Olson, Community Outreach Coordinator, at 320-208-7803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minnewaska Community Health Services
Volunteers have several opportunities to share their time and talents within the organization such as friendly visitors, helping with organized group activities, sharing greeting cards to brighten someone’s day, providing musical entertainment and special lunches, visiting with pets, helping with gardening, providing spiritual care, and fundraising for needed items.
MCHS recently honored their volunteers during National Volunteer Week with an appreciation luncheon and program.
If you or someone you know are interested in a volunteer opportunity, contact MCHS at www.mchs-healthcare.org.
MCHS also has an active volunteer Auxiliary. The Starbuck Auxiliary was established in April 1960 when volunteers from seven area churches helped to raise money for the current Minnewaska Lutheran Home, a home that provides the community with aging services. Since that time, the Auxiliary, which is made up of several community volunteers, continues to fundraise each year to provide needed equipment and supplies for the Minnewaska Lutheran Home, Holly Ridge Manor Assisted Living, and Glacial Trails Memory Care. The Auxiliary’s fundraisers include a Lunch Sale, Quilt Raffle, and Bake Sale during Starbuck Heritage Days as well as the Annual Fall Bazaar. The Bits and Pieces Quilting Group of Starbuck generously donates a beautiful quilt for the Auxiliary to raffle off each year. The Auxiliary is always looking for new members. Planning meetings are on the third Monday of the month (April-October) at 2:15pm in the Minnewaska Lutheran Home Commons. For more information on how to join their group, call 320-239-2217.
Central MN Foster Grandparent Program
Central MN Foster Grandparent Program is an AmeriCorps Seniors Program sponsored by Catholic Charities of the St. Cloud Diocese, serving 16 counties in Central Minnesota.
The program is an intergenerational program that engages volunteers ages 55+ to serve as mentors and tutors to children and youth with special and exceptional needs in schools, childcare centers, after-school programs, and other specialty non-profit programs serving youth, birth to 21.
The Foster Grandparents Program is a win-win-win program. It helps the youth by providing them with tutoring and mentorship, adding another caring adult to cheer them on to success. Volunteer stations are grateful for the commitment of our volunteers, and frequently report positive results in students’ gains in reading and math scores of those mentored by one of our volunteers. Our volunteers benefit from the experience, too. Volunteers share how much they value the opportunity to engage with youth in the community, and how meaningful it is to be a part of their learning and growing.
In 2022, 168 Foster Grandparent volunteers served nearly 80,000 hours at 83 volunteer stations across Central MN. Volunteers mentored/tutored 7,557 students; 1,176 of these students were identified as having special and/or exceptional needs.
We are currently seeking volunteers 55+ throughout our service area in childcare centers, HeadStart programs, K-12 schools, and community-based programming. Volunteers need to enjoy working with and being around children; must complete and pass a federal background check; and commit to serving 5-8 hours a week. More hours may be available for those interested.
For more information, contact Sara Heurung, at 320-229-4587, toll-free 1-866-895-7992, or email@example.com.
“I started volunteering with the Foster Grandparent Program because I love kids and reading and want to help kids learn to read. I also have a strong will to serve my community,” said Sylvia. “As I interact with the children, I am excited to see their progress in learning, especially during one-on-one work times. Some of the children I have worked with in the past still greet me in the hall with a smile and sometimes a hug. I am impressed with the young people they have become. The joy I feel in my volunteer work is better than medicine. The FGP program provides a great way to help youth learn while having a strong base of people in the Foster Grandparent Program to support and assist you.”
Central MN Elder Network, Douglas County
Visiting and companionship to seniors, and respite to senior caregivers. Our services and programs are provided by trained and compassionate volunteers, and coordinated by a staff of professionals committed to enriching the lives of adults through companionship, socialization, friendly listening, or caregiver relief.
The group is designed to help reduce loneliness and isolation for seniors in the communities they serve. The percentage of Douglas County’s population 65 and over is 22.4%, which is much higher than the State of MN (16.3%) and the United States overall (16.5%). In 2019, about 28% of all older adults living in the community lived alone. Among women age 75 and older, 44% lived alone. Many of these seniors do not have family or other caregivers nearby to support them. Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental health conditions. Loneliness has the potential to accelerate a senior’s need for assistance from a family caregiver or another source of long-term care.
Central MN Elder Network is looking for volunteers to visit seniors whereever they call home. Volunteers complete a short training program and then commit to visiting their client for one hour once a week. Volunteers with a client in the Respite Program may visit for a little longer each time.
For more information, contact Wendy Roiland at 320-763-9084 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at alexandriaeldernetwork.com.
“I first started volunteering for Elder Network three years ago because I thought spending a little time with a client would brighten up their life,” said Bev. “Three years later, I have to admit that I have received so much happiness spending time with my client. Before the pandemic, we visited on the phone and went to lunch at the Senior Center once a week. During the pandemic, we talked on the phone and I wrote to her. We are now able to go for rides, drive-through for her favorite coffee, and do a little shopping. I believe I truly do brighten up her life. I know my life is brighter with my Elder Network client in it.”
Runestone Museum, Alexandria
Volunteers at the Runestone Museum in Alexandria do their small part in preserving the history of Douglas County.
“I started volunteering because upon moving here I knew nothing about the area. The Runestone Museum was a good fit for me,” said Rhonda Steinbring. “I not only learned about the local history, but met new friends and got involved in community functions such as Christmas in the Fort and other activities. Working in the gift shop, admitting people to the museum, and helping with museum projects has made it possible to meet people from all over the world who come to vacation in our area. The staff and volunteers are a fun bunch to work with, and the volunteer job has flexible hours with a variety of fun projects to get involved in. If you’re looking for a fun and interesting place to volunteer, come and check us out.”
For more information, call 320-763-3160.
CentraCare Hospice provides end-of-life care for patients in their homes, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They also provide a support team for the patients and their families during these times. These care services include nursing, home health aides, spiritual care, social work, music and massage therapy, and volunteer services.
Volunteer opportunities include companionship, respite care, animal-assisted therapy, healing touch, and veteran-to-veteran companionship. Volunteers should be flexible, take initiative to help others, dependable, punctual, able to maintain confidentiality (HIPPA), provide emotional support with and without verbal communication, and provide supportive care to both the patient and their families.
For more information, contact Sherry Rausch at 320-240-3276 or Sherry.Rausch@centracare.com, or Roxanne Farber at 320-202-7191 or FarberR@centracare.com.
“My first husband had CentraCare Hospice at the end of his life and they did just a great job. Because of this experience, I wanted to pay it forward,” said Alice. “It has just been a great 24 years! I have met awesome people, and I feel great about what I am doing. Everyone in hospice from the leaders to the volunteers are great. I have developed good relationships with patients and their families through the years. It is just a great group to work with!”
For more information, contact Sarah Kellen at 320-968-7848.
Lutheran Social Service (LSS) of Minnesota
LSS provides older adult services, including AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Programs, Neighbor To Neighbor Companion Program, Caregiver and Respite Services, and LSS Meals.
Under the Foster Grandparent Program, older adult volunteers are placed in schools, Head Start programs, after school programs, and other organizations, providing services to children to provide academic or social/emotional support. Volunteers are 55 years of age or older, working 10 or more hours per week at their site serving children with academic or social/emotional activities.
Volunteers receive a non-taxable hourly stipend and mileage reimbursement. Must pass background check and complete pre-service orientation and training. Volunteers participate in on-going meetings and training. For more information, contact 651-310-9440 or 888-205-3770 or email@example.com.
Under the Senior Companion Program, older adult volunteers are matched with individuals or sites to provide socialization, support, and local transportation to stores, activities, or appointment, to keep our clients healthier and in their homes longer and more safely. Senior Companion Program: Volunteers are 55 years of age or older, and serve 10 hours per week or more providing socialization to older adults in their communities. Volunteers receive a non-taxable hourly stipend and mileage reimbursement. Must pass background check and complete pre-service orientation and training. Volunteers participate in on-going meetings and training. For more information, call 651-310-9440 or 888-205-3770 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Through the Neighbor To Neighbor Companion Program, adults are matched with individuals to provide socialization, support and local transportation to stores, appointments, or activities, to keep our clients healthier and in their homes longer and more safely. Volunteers are 18 years of age or older, and serve two or more hours a week providing socialization to other adults in their communities. Volunteers receive mileage reimbursement. Must pass background check and complete pre-service orientation and training. Volunteers participate in on-going meetings and training. To learn more, call 651-310-9440 or email email@example.com.
Through the Caregiver Respite Program, trained volunteers offer weekly visits in the home so that family caregivers can run errands, see friends and family, or just rest and recharge. Our service also includes coaching and counseling, technology services, support groups, emergency care planning, and group respite. Community volunteers are 18 years of age or older, and must pass background check, and complete pre-service orientation and training. Volunteers participate in on-going meetings and training. For more info, call 866-787-9802 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
LSS Meals provide support to help older adults live heathier, more active and independent lives. Its meals service is now a recognized food vendor serving youth meals for federal nutrition programming such as the National School Lunch Program. LSS Meals volunteers can include roles of assisting in serving meals or delivering meals to older adults in their communities. Must pass background check, and complete pre-service orientation and training. For more info, call 800-488-4146 or email email@example.com.
Alexandria Evening Lions
The mission of the Lions Clubs is to empower Lions and clubs, volunteers, and partners, to improve health and well-being, strengthen communities, and support those in need through humanitarian services and grants that impact lives globally, and encourage peace and international understanding.
The Alexandria club, celebrating their 60th anniversary this year, raises money for community projects by sponsoring bingo at the Douglas County Fair, hosting waffle feeds, and their white cane project. The monies they raise go back into the community, with some going to Lions International to help with global needs. They also collect gently used shoes for “Soles for Souls.”
Last summer, they were able to help with a grant for clean up after the tornado in Forada. For the past 50 years, the Alexandria Evening Lions Club has sponsored the Invitational Cross Country Event for high schools, bringing in hundreds of families from across Minnesota to watch their children participate in this event. They provide needed eye exams and glasses for the less fortunate, donations to the YMCA, the Douglas County Food Shelf, local Boy Scout troops, and providing, scholarships to high school seniors. Our club is always active in the Salvation Army bell ringing at Christmas time, and helping with Habitat for Humanity. The Lions help at the Harvest Pack program, Adopt-a-Highway, and take care of Latoka Beach clean up, among many other local projects.
At the state and global levels, they donate monies to Leader Dogs for the Blind, Lions Hearing Foundation, Minnesota Lions Diabetes Foundation, Minnesota Lions Vision Foundation, and Lions Club International Foundation, which provides assistance around the world.
For more information, contact Katie Winter at 320-766-0366.
“I have been a member of the Alexandria Evening Lions for about 25 years. Currently, I am the Membership Chairperson and would encourage you to reach out to me or other Lion members, to learn more about an opportunity to become part of a great club and serve. We meet the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month. We are always looking for new members who want to be active in the community by attending our meetings and helping with fundraising projects.
Bargain Bazaar Thrift Store, Elbow Lake
Bargain Bazaar, owned and operated by Community Healthcare Auxiliary, a 501(c)(3) organization, raises funds to support charitable, educational, and community development activities with a focus on healthcare.
The store offers a way for people to recycle for a good cause, offers an opportunity for customers to purchase quality clothing, household goods, toys, books, and much more at low prices, and provides volunteer opportunities. Since the store opened in 2008, the Auxiliary, with funds raised through Bargain Bazaar, has donated $589,000 to purchase items, or to support programs that meet our mission.
Besides our volunteer Auxiliary Board of Directors, volunteers do all the work at Bargain Bazaar like sorting, pricing, displaying, cleaning, organizing, selling, and helping customers, as they have no paid staff. An important bonus of volunteering is getting to know each other with good conversations and frequent laughter. Volunteer managers train the volunteers for areas they are interested in and/or that we need help with at the time from the jobs listed above. We ask that they sign up on our schedule calendar so we have enough people to cover all the jobs during our hours of 11-5 Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
For more information, contact Robin McNamar, at 218-731-1101, or firstname.lastname@example.org. “We could not do this without committed volunteers willing to give of their time,” said McNamar.
“I started volunteering at Bargain Bazaar because the Bargain Bazaar offers one of only two places to shop for a wide range of products in Grant County,” said Susan. “Those products are recycled and being kept out of landfills. And all profits go back into supporting local well-being. Volunteering at Bargain Bazaar gives me a sense of doing something positive for the community, and a sense of community while doing something positive! The other volunteers are good people, fun to be around, and such hard workers.”
“I love thrift stores, and enjoy helping the community raise money for important causes,” said Mary. “Bargain Bazaar is an awesome thrift store, and working with the other volunteers has been such a delight. Meeting the many customers and helping them find what they are looking for is very fulfilling. It’s a great way to serve the community.”
“We were new in the community, and when I was asked, I thought it a good idea to get involved and meet people,” said Glenda. “Doing this volunteer work that does so very much for the community is such a rewarding experience. It gives one such a good feeling to be part of something that enables others to participate in activities, help those with food needs, heat for those in need, etc. We donate to many areas in need, and provide a place to shop for good quality clothes and items. We have a good group of people to work with who are fun to be around and have a chance to visit and interact. Plus, it is great to see many people shopping or donating items.”
GFWC Potpourri Glenwood
The title of the Oscar-winning film for this past year, “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once,” could easily apply to the General Federated Women’s Club (GFWC) Potpourri in Glenwood. Club members volunteer as a group, or individually in organizations, that fit with their personal passions. The motto for GFWC is “Unity in Diversity.”
The activities of volunteers may allay budgetary concerns for other non-profits. It has provided valuable assistance to the community through such forms as packing and delivering Meals on Wheels; assisting at the local food shelf, supporting Someplace Safe women’s shelter organization; contributions of clothing and help to the local Clothes Closet; participating in sewing quilts for missions and those in need locally; helping at Central Square or the Library; and supporting the Ann Bickle Heritage House with donations of time, baked goods for events, and assistance in serving at Holiday Teas. This covers many, but not all, of the group’s endeavors.
Some volunteer opportunities include assistance and support for Meals on Wheels, Clothes Closet, Humane Society, the Douglas/Pope Food Drop, the Food Shelf, Central Square, Church and Community Blood Drives, Pope County Historical Society, Someplace Safe, Hearts and Hands, Get out the Vote, Minnewaska Area High School, Minnewaska Elementary School, Hearts and Hands, serving on local non-profit boards and committees, and more.
Volunteers must be interested in helping others, have a love of community, enjoy being social, and willing to lend a hand where needed.
For more information, contact Sandra Josephs at 320-634-4324 or email@example.com.
“I joined the women’s club whose motto is built upon volunteering in one’s community to make the lives of those living there better,” said Darlene Femrite. “That led me to helping Someplace Safe, the library, Senior Meals, and sewing mission quilts. My experience has been pleasant, and I learned a lot! I became aware of what was offered to patrons or clients, thus learning about my community after moving here. My contributions did not involve hard or complicated work: packing food items, covering books, writing thank-you notes, and tying or stitching material. People I reported to were helpful in telling me how to do tasks; and they were so appreciative! After finishing my easy, small tasks, my heart was warmed and my self-worth increased! Receiving the thanks and welcoming smiles of those I help is worth it all! One gains personal satisfaction and self-worth. One learns about the community by meeting people they would probably never meet. You hear about the area and events through others’ conversation helping me feel like I belong!”
Honor Quilts of West Central Minnesota
Honor Quilts of West Central Minnesota is a volunteer organization that honors and thanks military veterans and soldiers in west central Minnesota through the gift of a quilt. Quilts are made by volunteers to cover and comfort the men and women who have served our country. Volunteers cut, sew, press, machine quilt, and bind the quilts. Quilt kits are available to pick up and sew at home to complete the quilt top, then returned to be quilted and bound. All quilts are made from new fabrics and batting.
Anyone who enjoys working with fabric is welcome to join their group. The monthly workday is the first Thursday of each month at Community Vacuum and Sewing (1321 Broadway) in Alexandria. Contact Jean at 320-760-9991 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Georgia Thesing at 320-491-2332.
“I joined Honor Quilts to remind myself of our precious freedoms which we have because of the young, brave, and dedicated men and women who have put their dreams and desires on hold to serve our country,” said Eileen. “I am humbled and honored every time I give an Honor Quilt to a veteran. Honor Quilts has been a blessing to me. The members have been kind, respectful, and generous with their time. It is my favorite day of the month; a day of friendship and creativity, all in honor of our veterans. Last year we presented over 200 quilts to veterans across Minnesota.”
“I started volunteering with Honor Quilts because my son was serving in the military, and because I was a quilter,” said Carolyn. “I felt it was a meaningful way to express my gratitude to those serving in the military. The presentation of the quilts completed by our organization is especially meaningful when you see the emotional response of the veterans who are receiving the quilts. I have made many new friends in this group, and we look forward to our monthly workdays knowing we are making a difference in the lives of our veterans.”
CentraCare serves the health care needs of people living in Central Minnesota. CentraCare volunteers serve in patient, resident, and guest roles to enhance a positive care environment, and contribute to the patient experience. Volunteers serve in roles regionwide throughout CentraCare. Most volunteer roles fit into three categories, and each region has specific positions in these areas. These roles include assisting staff in patient/resident care areas, providing information and service to families, and serving in clerical/office or retail-related capacities. There are also volunteer opportunities with animal-assisted therapy, hospice, the Coborn Cancer Center, and spiritual care.
Volunteers must complete a volunteer application, interview, screening, and orientation.
To learn more or apply, contact Volunteer@centracare.com, 320-255-5638, or visit www.centracare.com/volunteer.
“Before I retired, I brought my brother to the St. Cloud Hospital for surgery,” said John N., STEP Force volunteer at the St. Cloud Hospital. “I was impressed that there was a volunteer to take us to my brother’s appointment and then take me to the surgery waiting room. Later that day, another volunteer led me to my brother’s room. Once I retired, joining the STEP Force team was a no-brainer. I have been part of the STEP Force team for almost six years and enjoy every moment. I can give back to the community while working with the staff, work with other STEP Force personnel to take people to their appointments, meet new people, and get in 8,500+ steps every shift. I decided to do two shifts per week and eventually became a STEP Force trainer. Volunteering here continues to be a true win-win for me.”
Mid-Minnesota Development Commission
Mid-Minnesota Development Commission’s mission is to administer state and federal programs, coordinate multi-jurisdictional activities, and provide technical assistance to government, business, and local organizations to maintain or enhance the quality of life. Part of that mission includes helping communities address multiple facets of transportation planning to ensure safety and promote healthy living. Volunteer drivers are a crucial part of achieving that mission.
Volunteer drivers often travel to the homes of non-drivers and take them to medical appointments or other locations, and then return them home. The drivers make it possible for many to remain in their homes while fully participating in community life. Volunteer drivers are an extension of local public transit. They are provided training, orientation and other needed materials, and receive mileage reimbursement if they use their own vehicle.
Each volunteer can choose their trips and what days/times work with their schedule. Rides are typically provided from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, but drivers determine their own availability. Many trips are provided within the immediate area, though some are to further afield medical destinations, like the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, or Rochester.
To learn more about becoming a volunteer driver, contact Transportation Coordinator Terry Smith at 320-894-1871 or email@example.com.
“I enjoy the satisfaction of knowing I have helped someone that needed it,” said Rosella.
“I feel more connected with people of all ages, and have a stronger sense of the community since I started volunteering,” said Roberta.
“Being a retired nurse, I still enjoy helping people on a one-to-one basis. This volunteer position allows me to stay involved in making people’s lives a little easier,” said Kathy.
“It gets me out of the house, and we get to meet people we normally wouldn’t meet,” said Lila.
“My favorite part is giving back and helping people,” said Jennifer. “People just need to get out and have fun and enjoy life, and so it makes my day to be able to help them do that.”