Opinion: Volunteers – The mortar that binds

National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to acknowledge the work done by so many in the community to build a better Chilliwack.

Chilliwack is a giving community. That is evident by money and goods that are donated every year to make the city a better place.

The generosity extends beyond the Christmas giving season; it continues throughout the year. Thousands of dollars are raised to help people in need, to build playgrounds, to improve habitat for wildlife.

But there is something else that is given each day in Chilliwack.

Time.

This week marks National Volunteer Week. It is an opportunity to acknowledge the work done by so many in the community to build a better Chilliwack.

It’s an acknowledgement many are reluctant to accept; they prefer to remain outside the spotlight.

But there are thousands of them. Indeed, it’s estimated that volunteers donate two billion hours of their time every year in Canada.

Imagine if they all stayed home.

That friendly face at the hospital entrance would not be there to help a worried patient find his or her way to day surgery.

Fewer hands would be held at Cascade Hospice.

Meals for the city’s less fortunate would go unserved.

Sports fields would grow silent.

Chilliwack would be a different place without these dedicated individuals.

They share more than their time; they offer their experiences, insights and abilities so that organizations grow stronger and better meet the needs of the community.

Most volunteers would argue that they get more out of what they do than what they give.

That’s why they are more than willing to encourage others to volunteer.

But their contribution is important and deserves more than an annual recognition week.

There are many parts that make a community strong. Volunteers, through their efforts, supply the mortar that binds these parts together.

Without them, Chilliwack would be a lesser place.