With over 100 volunteers providing nearly 7,000 hours of volunteer service, there was plenty to celebrate at the J.W. MacIntosh Senior Support Centre’s Volunteer Appreciation Night, held at the centre last Tuesday night, April 21.
The evening theme was puzzles, and the pieces that make up the pictures. Each volunteer, upon arrival, was presented with a puzzle piece by Corry Martens, vice-chair of the Senior Support Centre’s board of directors.
“I want to say welcome to all our essential pieces,” said the Centre’s executive director, Janet Levere. “Isn’t it a wonderful thing that we are all different? Each of us has strengths and skills to share. And when we link our individual strengths, we are an amazing community picture.”
“I can’t imagine us without you. So thank you. Thank you for achieving greater results, thank you for bringing excitement to every day, thank you for helping those in need, thank you for making an impact in the community and thank you for being an essential piece of someone’s everyday life.”
Marten, who spoke on behalf of board chair, Duane Locke said, “I want to thank all of our volunteers. There is hardly anything that gets done in any community without volunteers. I want to thank all of you who bring sunshine to the lives of others.”
According to Levere, the Centre experienced an increase in the number of individuals served over the past year. She said that clients and their needs are changing, but their desire to stay at home in their own communities continues to be their greatest wish. “Your commitment to support them with this challenge is heartwarming.”
Levere thanked the transportation and meals on wheels drivers who had a long snowy winter, and the volunteers at the centre who assisted with foot care, diner’s club, exercise clubs, fundraising, adult day program, decorating and the craft group.
This past year, the J.W. MacIntosh Senior Support Centre, supported 629 persons which was an increase of almost 50. For every client supported, there were 1-3 caregivers who also benefitted. The care accounted for just under 7,000 volunteer hours.
Forty three clients of Meals on Wheels were served 2,831 meals (an increase of just under 1,300 meals).
Another 287 people enjoyed 5,509 dinners/social activities, and 135 clients were supported with 3,022 one way trips. One hundred and three individuals benefitted from 514 foot care appointments, 32 clients enjoyed 715 units of adult day programming, 107 clients benefitted from 16,072 hours of respite and 89 persons benefitted from 17,058 units of assisted living/supportive housing.
Prior to welcoming guest speaker Maggie Wheeler, a very well known and successful local mystery writer, Levere thanked and introduced the centre’s staff which included Theresa Zandbergen (Administration Assistant), Cathy Tupper (Team Leader), Taryn Hoogeveen (Operations Assistant) and Kerri Seabrook (Adult Day Coordinator).
Levere then introduced Wheeler, a “wonderful story teller and local author.”
“Years ago when I was here, I believe I said something about the value of volunteers,” said Wheeler. “Ten years later I’m back. The needs keep growing and the programs that need these things keep growing. Thank you all so much for all that you give.”
Wheeler who is now planning a fifth book, introduced herself as “one of the few people who you can say I plan murders for a living.”
She then delighted the audience with her knowledge of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project before talking about her writing career, her four-book, Farran Mackenzie murder mystery series and her next book which she expects to begin writing this coming fall.