Volunteering is a very necessary part to operating in any municipality, from big cities to small towns.
Lacombe has a plethora of volunteer-based organizations from faith-based groups, to family service practices, social program-based operations and of course, non-profit agencies.
The City of Lacombe also has a number of boards, committees and commissions that require the help of volunteers and volunteered efforts of councillors and City staff. For example, Lacombe’s Police Commission, the Heritage Resources Committee, Lacombe and District Parks, Recreation and Culture board, our local library board and the Lacombe Art Commission Committee.
All of these programs rely on the efforts of citizens-at-large in conjunction with the volunteer time of councillors. Without the time, effort, thought and attention brought to these programs by volunteers, Lacombe would be a very dry City indeed.
When tragedy strikes a community, it takes that community working together to rebuild. Of course, there are paid workers who help to reconstruct buildings or develop infrastructure, but it takes the efforts of volunteers to sustain social programs and non-profit agencies that fundraise and contribute to settling families and civilians into new homes or facilities.
As Remembrance Day approaches, organizations such as the Royal Canadian Legion will rely on the efforts of volunteers to roll up their sleeves and help to build the Poppy Campaign, arrange celebrations and ceremonies, distribute wreaths and share information about events and meaning. Without volunteers, organizations such as the Legion might not even occur, and this group is pivotal in celebrating the history of veterans and the lives of those affected by anyone who has served.
Heading into the rest of November and December, groups such as Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), the food bank, schools, churches and other volunteer-heavy organizations will seek the efforts of volunteers to help create a plentiful, safe and warm holiday season.
After the holidays pass, when the snow falls heavy in January and February, there will remain a heavy need for help at the food bank and other social-based programs that will house, clothe and feed those in need.
With the past years of poor economic growth in Alberta, especially in Central Alberta, there is a huge need for communities to come together to support each other. As families saw more and more jobs cut, more people had to access social programs, food banks, employment services and health services. All of these issues mean a lot of volunteer time and effort put back into the community to operate necessary services to help people navigate the recession.
Emergency services also rely heavily on volunteerism. Volunteer firefighters are a crucial part of the operations of the Lacombe Fire Department, and without those volunteer firefighters the City might struggle to attend to large structure fires. Without volunteers, the Victim Services program would be stretched even tighter in addressing the need to take care of families affected by crime or tragedy.
All around us there are volunteers. There are children in schools who organize fundraisers for friends and family. There are parents who take time after work to arrange after-school sports and programs to benefit their children and the other youth in the community. There are facilitators, educators and coaches who volunteer their time in order to create a vibrant and active community that Lacombians know and love.
Volunteering opportunities can be found almost anywhere, especially with the help of programs and services such as the Volunteer Handbook created by the City and organizations like Volunteer Central, who direct volunteers to events and agencies in need.
It’s important to recognize, appreciate and become involved in volunteering in order to generate a dynamic, successful and innovative community.