The importance of small town volunteers

While larger cities can usually afford to pay members of their fire departments and emergency medical services, many small towns rely on volunteers to provide invaluable assistance. I spoke to two members of the Beverly Volunteer Fire Department who shared their thoughts on the importance of volunteering in small communities.

All-inclusive United Campus Ministry offers volunteer opportunities

Editor’s note: In a nod to the Thanksgiving holiday, reporters for the Shopping section of Court Street Stories have decided to “shop” for a local charity. What better way to say “thanks” than to find an organization worthy of a donation or volunteer work?
What’s the UCM?

UCM logo
Their logo, including atheist, Satanic/Wicca, and humanist symbols

Religious institutions have the reputation of being exclusive and righteous to a fault. The United Campus Ministry in Athens couldn’t be more different than that.

Supported entirely by a few local congregations and personal donations, it accepts people from any faith or non-faith. Their mission is to engage the community in spiritual growth, community service and work for justice, guided by socially progressive and interfaith values.

UCM facilitates cooperative activities and discussions among people of varying, sometimes contradictory, faiths.  How can a Christian and a Satanist agree on anything about religion?  Rev. Evan Young, Campus Minister, says it’s all about open discussion.  “We encourage understanding each other and in doing so, we understand ourselves better,” he said.  “We all have the same questions: What happens to us when we die? Why do we suffer?”

The United Campus Ministry would love for you to participate in these discussions and/or get involved in their volunteering efforts this holiday. Here are just a few ways to contribute.

Thursday supper and Saturday lunch

Student and community volunteers work together to plan, prepare, set-up, and serve free, hot, nutritious meals for low-income community members. Every Thursday and Saturday.

Interfaith impact student organization

Interfaith dialogue facilitated by Rev. Young, every Thursday night (7:30-9)

Better Together

An award-winning campaign that focuses on environmental justice and food insecurity in Athens County. Students have raised money and awareness for local and international organizations including Charity Water, the SE Ohio Foodbank, and Community Food Initiatives.

Alternative break trips

Winter break trips have included Witness for Peace delegations to Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela; Pine Ridge Reservation, post-Katrina New Orleans, US-Mexico border, and Washington D.C. Available to all students.

PayPal donations

UCM’s website accepts donations of any size.

Buy stuff at Kroger

Kroger gift cards are available at UCM. A percentage of grocery and gas purchases with the Kroger card will go to UCM at no cost to you. Call or email for details and to obtain your card.

Other volunteer opportunities

  • Groundskeeping and routine building maintenance
  • Bulk mailing prep (folding and labeling)
  • Fundraising and outreach events and activities

Social media

To keep up with what the ministry is doing – Follow @ucmohiou on Twitter and/or friend ‘United Campus Ministry at Ohio University’ on Facebook

Additional information on these and other actives can be found on their website.

 

 

Athens County Food Pantry needs donations, volunteers

Editor’s note: In a nod to the Thanksgiving holiday, reporters for the Shopping section of Court Street Stories have decided to “shop” for a local charity. What better way to say “thanks” than to find an organization worthy of a donation or volunteer work?

33364_oh_45701_athens-county-food-pantry_acvThe Athens County Food Pantry is a non-profit organization that provides food for people in need. The organization is supported by volunteers and has no paid employees. The donations mostly come from individuals, groups and local churches in the Athens community.

According to Frank Hare, who works at the organization, students like to donate peanut butter, canned soups, vegetables and candy, but money is the most efficient when it comes to a donation.

“Money always helps the most because we use the money to get food from food banks where we can get a large amount of food with cheaper price,” Hare said.

The Pantry’s hours vary, and they suggest calling in advance before coming in for assistance. According to Hare, most food pantry organizations have a three-day emergency food supply service where people can get three days worth of food, three meals a day.

“We have to have some sort of limit on how much people can take. The three-day emergency service is limited to once a month and it usually works pretty well,” Hare said.

Volunteers are always needed. If you would like to donate or volunteer, call (740) 448-4041

For food assistance, call directly at 1-800-338-4484

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