I strongly disagree with the tone and conclusions reached in your recent article about volunteers and community service organizations.
The needs in our local communities can never be completely met by taxpayers and tax dollars. The needs are too diverse and too great. It is the donations and volunteer hours of members of organizations like the Kiwanis, Lions, VFWs, GFWC Woman’s Clubs and so many others that meet these needs.
As the state president of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Pennsylvania, and a lifelong resident of Upper Allen Township, I have the opportunity to travel throughout our state and even nationally to see the generosity of these men and women.
They are reading to children and funding programs at libraries, feeding the hungry with support of food banks, giving glasses to the vision impaired, and scholarships to local students, planting gardens that feed entire communities and so much more. We are encouraging the youth of today who will be our leaders of tomorrow with awards, mentoring opportunities and the opportunity to express themselves artistically.
I firmly believe that the problem is not that we are too busy or self absorbed to help others. The problem is that our volunteer organizations do not have the “extra” funds to market ourselves and let the community know what is needed and how they can help. Every time I have spoken with someone and talked about what my local club, Upper Allen Woman’s Club GFWC, is doing in our community that person has chosen to get involved and helped solve a need. Our organization is not “hemorrhaging” members. We have grown every year because of the good we are doing for our community.
The funds and volunteers of our community service organizations are stretched to the max. We need more volunteers to get involved so please do not discourage participation. The question your paper should be asking of the people who are not involved is why others are not helping to improve where we live.
Every person I know who does volunteer service is busy. Many are working full-time or are full-time caregivers at home. They still find time to help others and we should expect that of all our citizens.
Paying taxes is not enough. Find a need and meet it.
Gen. Jimmy Doolittle said during World War II that “there is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.” Let me assure you that the volunteer hearts are beating strong in central Pennsylvania.
Vicy Ann Trimmer
General Federation of Women’s Clubs Pennsylvania