Where have they gone?

Nick Wolochatiuk - Dances With Words
Where have they gone?
MANY HANDS… clean strawberries, knit quilts, change light bulbs, decorate the hall, do readings at church services. Volunteer! (Photo by Nick Wolochatiuk)

 They’re all too busy. The skyrocketing cost of housing, whether it be home ownership, rental or a condo, has made it necessary for home-seekers of all ages, couples, singles or seniors, to take on more working hours, sometimes requiring commuting. There goes more of their free time. Those who have taken on a much larger property than necessary are devoting endless hours to lawn maintenance, clearing too-long driveways of snow, and general house chores.

            Besides all those factors, most of the veteran volunteers, the above-mentioned ‘theys’, are aging. An 80-year-old who was once the founder of the Model Railway Club can no longer get up a sufficient head of steam for the grunt work to set up the layout in the high school gym.

            The ‘theys’ I am referring to are the vanishing breed of selfless volunteers who are the essential cogs in the wheels that make things happen: cooking, baking and serving the 21 turkeys and 12 hams for the church’s Thanksgiving celebration. It’s the guys and gals of the local flying clubs who, the day before, set up the chairs and tables, check the pancake mixer and coffee percolator and see to it that all the new volunteers know the drill. For the Santa Claus Christmas parade, marshals in their reflective vests are on hand to keep excited children and dogs away from marching elves and floats.

            Today, so many events are virtual, requiring a few skilled computer wizards to make things appear on-line. The apple pies are just densely-pixelated transitory images. There is no need for volunteers to collect the detritus left behind by the imaginary Clydesdales.

            We will always need volunteers to drive cancer patients to their treatment centres, volunteers to supervise special events at schools, volunteers to accompany primary grade field trips, volunteers to water service club gardens, volunteers to update and monitor community websites, volunteers to record seniors’ memories…

            C’mon! Give up some of your Netflix viewing time, surrender some of your Sudoku gaming, stop wasting time on YouTube by watching cute kittens and airplane crashes. Volunteer!  

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