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Support your local volunteer organizations

The Lakeville Journal Editorial

This is the time when traditionally many of the area nonprofit organizations have held their annual fundraisers, some high-profile and highly profitable, some low-profile and only moderately so. For each of these organizations, the money that would have been made during the short and busy spring season helped them provide services that are essential to the lives of our communities all four seasons of the year. COVID has had a chilling effect on those fundraisers, of course, and yet the nonprofit organizations, from child care centers to ambulance corps and fire departments, have missions that are just as critical within their communities as ever. This is the time to support them, choosing those closest to our hearts or of most relevance to the largest proportion of our area population.

But it’s not always easy to know what will be most relevant to our lives or those of our families and friends until the need arises. One may not need the services of the local town child care center right now, for instance, but a pregnancy, personal or in one’s circle, can mean an urgent need to find a warm and welcoming place that provides high-quality care. It’s at this time that one notices the excellent and vibrant child care centers and after-school programs that are part of the services in each of the Region One towns. Remember that for young families trying to make their homes in the Northwest Corner, this is one of the services that is most critical for them.

Or, an elderly friend or relative may have been doing fine up to now, but a fall or a diagnosis leads to a need for the ambulance service, the hospital, then daytime care or nursing care at home. When that happens, the towns’ volunteer EMTs and Sharon, Fairview or Charlotte Hungerford hospitals become the most important immediate priorities. Then, the Salisbury Visiting Nurse Association, now part of Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Litchfield County, is suddenly of great support. And if full-time care is needed, Noble Horizons, Sharon Health Care and Geer Nursing are among those in our backyard.

We may not like to think about it, but there is always the possibility of a fire breaking out in one’s home or a traffic accident out on the road. The first responders of the local volunteer fire and ambulance companies are then the most welcome sight of our lives, though we have likely seen most of them before at the food store or the transfer station. Those familiar faces, calm and efficient in times of crisis, can be what pull us through.

There are also those needs in life that are not as reactive but rather are preventive, giving joy and respite from day-to-day life when one is in need of some relaxation and rejuvenation: the arts, music, theater, sports and outdoor recreation. These may not be necessities in order to survive, but they are to live well and fully. And many of those organizations are now finally opening more widely, a comfort to those in the region who love their work.

All of these needs are met by organizations in the Northwest Corner, both large and small, and all of them need financial support to be available to our rural area’s residents. Consider those that make a difference for the region, and donate to them, support their fundraisers (many of which you will see covered in this newspaper) whether virtual or once again in person, and think about volunteering for them. Even a few hours a month of volunteering can help a nonprofit fulfill its mission, and help you understand your neighbors better, getting to know them on a whole new level.

The Salisbury Association has available a new “Resource Guide for Volunteer Opportunities in Our Community,” available free at the Academy Building at 24 Main St. in Salisbury, or online at www.salisburyassociation.org and www.salisburyct.us. Use it and volunteer!

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