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A good week to consider volunteering

“I encourage all North Carolinians to get involved with an organization that helps members of their community live healthier, more engaged lives,” North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper said this week, as he declared April 15-21 as National Volunteer Week. “Whether assisting survivors of natural disasters, providing meals to the hungry or mentoring someone who deserves a chance to achieve success, volunteers make a difference with every hour they serve.”

They do. Every week, volunteers make time in their schedules to help their communities. Here, they could be at numerous Beaufort County schools, reading to children. They could be at the hospital, delivering magazines to patients. Beaufort County volunteers could be stocking the shelves at Eagle’s Wings food pantry or serving up lunch at Zion Shelter and Kitchen. They could be sitting down one on one with another adult, teaching them how to read, or delivering meals to a homebound elderly person. Volunteers could be introducing the arts to a group of schoolchildren visiting the Turnage Theatre or teaching them how to play soccer through the city leagues. They might be manning the cash register at Ruth’s House domestic violence shelter’s downtown store or cleaning up trash on the county’s roads.

It takes a special person to volunteer their skills and talent to others, with no expectation of anything in return. The donation of time is a precious gift. Donating time, effort and energy to make a community better speaks of a generosity that cannot be replaced.

Volunteers fill the gaps in services — the same gaps that many people would fall through if not for the safety net volunteers create.

Take the time this week to thank a volunteer. Take the time this week to consider volunteering.