As VON Week is celebrated across Canada, in Pictou County, the organization took some time to celebrate the volunteers who make VON’s charitable programs a success.
“As we celebrate VON Week we really want to celebrate our volunteers which are as important to have as the nursing and home support,” said Sheila Hoeg, co-ordinator for community support and volunteer services with the Pictou County VON.
Hoeg along with several of the organization’s volunteers joined New Glasgow Mayor Nancy Dicks for a proclamation signing on Tuesday in recognition of VON week.
The VON have more than 60 volunteers in Pictou County who work in a wide variety of roles to help with the charitable endeavours of VON including Meals on Wheels, the foot clinic, office administration and the adult day program. The cost of these programs is kept low by volunteers who give their time to make it operate.
In many ways, the nursing and home support services work well with the charitable end of VON because many referrals to the support programs come from the nursing and home support staff who identify people who could benefit from the programs, Hoeg said.
But those meals wouldn’t be delivered if it weren’t for people volunteering their time. There are also volunteers who drive people to their appointments.
“Some people depend heavily on them to get them to their medical appointments whether it be Halifax, Amherst or Antigonish or locally,” Hoeg said.
The adult day program offers respite for caregivers and is one area they could use more volunteers, she said.
David Gibson moved to Pictou County from the Valley recently. Prior to moving here, he had been involved with driving seniors to a day care program and someone suggested that he should volunteer at VON when he moved.
For him the favourite part of volunteering is talking with seniors.
“They have a lot of knowledge,” he said. “I think I can talk to them easier, because most of them have kids my age. Most of the seniors I deal with are in their 80s. Some are in their 90s
I really enjoy giving back to seniors.”
Jane Fraser has been volunteering for the last three or four months.
Her reason for doing it was simple: “Because I can.”
She said she was looking to do something productive and so far has found it rewarding to be part of. She particularly enjoys hearing seniors who remember the good old days.
“They seem to talk about the favourite part of their life, so it’s fun to listen to,” she said.
Emily MacGregor volunteers as a receptionist with the foot clinic. She enjoys meeting people and hopes to make their day a little better.
Jim Cameron feels the same.
“I’m a people person,” he said. “I enjoy helping people.”
For more information on VON and the service they provide call 902-752-3184 or find them on Facebook: VON Canada – Pictou County.