Editor: I am writing in response the “open letter from a frustrated volunteer,” (the Times, Feb. 2). One of my volunteers just gave me a copy of this.
I was so sorry to read about the author’s unsuccessful attempts to volunteer. I can say with confidence that I am certain Rickards did not apply at Hope for Children Thrift Store, since I have not seen such an application.
What I loved about the letter are the suggestions Rickards puts forth: flexibility in hours after school/work and weekends, sorting and pricing items at home. These are options we offer as we have sorting “parties” a couple of evenings a week.
We also have several volunteers who take items home to organize, package and price. We have need of techies who could update our website, electricians who can repair fixtures, collectors who understand the world of collectibles. We need people who know the value of common household items, and can identify the unusual things that come through our doors.
We need fashionistas who recognize name brands or just love a great pair of shoes. Most of all, we need people who love to be a part of the community, who like to make a difference in their world and care passionately about the cause.
When a volunteer comes to speak with me I ask them what their strengths are and what is motivating them to volunteer. If it is work experience I do my best to give them a variety of tasks to plump up their resume. If they admit specific strengths and preferences I put them in those tasks. The best part of volunteering is getting to do what you enjoy.
When I became manager at Hope for Children a year and a half ago, I thought I would like it. I didn’t know I would love it.
I work with a great range of people aged 14-80. The energy, care and humour each volunteer brings makes every day a pleasure. If Rickards or anyone else wants to make volunteering a part of their life, please come and see us. You won’t regret it.
Fiona Jansen, manager
Hope for Children Thrift Store