Aaron Mones, volunteer coordinator for FCSS, holds a few of the hearts which will be displayed in shop windows on Main Street starting April 4. The hearts tie into this year’s Volunteer Appreciation Event theme “Heartbeat of the Community”. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Rimbey Review

Rimbey’s Volunteer Appreciation Event returns for 21st year

The celebration is on April 10 at the Peter Lougheed Centre at 6 p.m.

Rimbey and District Volunteer Week Committee’s 21st Annual Volunteer Appreciation Event is set for April 10.

The event, which is held during National Volunteer Week, is at 6 p.m. at the Peter Lougheed Centre Auditorium.

The free event will feature greetings from dignitaries, a play put on by the Rimbey Jr/Sr High School drama club, a photo booth, popcorn and desserts, but the bulk of the evening is to say thank you to volunteers.

“We do our best to invite all the volunteers in town through various organizations, but anybody who volunteer is welcome to show up,” said Aaron Mones, volunteer coordinator with Rimbey FCSS. “You don’t have to have had received an invitation to be a part of it.”

Patty Makofka, executive director of Rimbey FCSS, says a person can be a volunteer on a variety of different levels.

“Volunteering can mean anything from helping your neighbour on the side without ever going through an organization, just mowing the grass for an elderly neighbour or maybe just picking up trash as you walk down the alley and you’re not really doing it for anybody, just an act of kindness and good for the community,” Makofka said, adding they want to make sure every type of volunteers feels welcome to attend the event.

Mones says it is important to recognize often times most people do not event realize they are volunteering, like when removing a neighbour’s snow.

“You’re putting in your own time to benefit someone else and so we just want to make sure that everybody out there who has experienced that or done that kind of thing gets recognized and has at least one day where we all kind of say thank you and we value what you do,” commented Mones, adding most volunteers help out all year long.

“There’s a lot of folks out there that probably deserve a thanks every day and they don’t get it, so this is our opportunity to extend a hand,” Mones said of the appreciation event.

This year’s theme is “Volunteers ‘Heartbeat of the Community’” and will be present around town via paper hearts displayed on Main Street.

Organizations have been able to stop by FCSS and pick up paper hearts to write the names of their volunteers on the hearts and on April 4 they will be hung up in the windows of store fronts down Main Street.

The hearts will remain up for people to see during National Volunteer Week, April 7-13.

Makofka explained there are different types of people who volunteer, ones who don’t want any recognition and others who want to be validated, but they all share what the value of volunteerism brings to the community.

She said they tried to find a middle road with this event to not overdo the appreciation for those who don’t want the recognition, but still show they care.

“I think this us just a really good opportunity to kind of flip the table and say ‘hey, you guys do everything for us so here we are [saying] thank you,” said Mones.

The average age of volunteers in Rimbey is over 65-years-old, so part of FCSS’ goal is to engage younger volunteers.

He says it’s hard for people to find time these days, but there are always certain ways where everyone can take a few hours to make a difference.

“We just really want to make sure people are aware of the opportunities out there, so that that’s not what’s holding them back from getting involved,” added Mones.

Volunteerism promotes the values of resilience, leadership, cohesion and social inclusion, said a report by Volunteer Alberta, which is what the event is trying to promote, every one is welcome.

“If you’ve put time in to help other people [and] make your community better, show up and be appreciated,” said Mones.

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