Volunteer Fort St. James

A new organization is helping connect volunteers and non profits in Fort St. James, but without any pressure.

No pressure.

A new organization is helping connect volunteers and non profits in Fort St. James, but without any pressure.

The group was born from an idea suggested by Joyce Helweg, who asked Judy Greenaway to take on the task.

Called simply Volunteer Fort St. James, the group received a grant from New Horizons for Seniors funding from the province and now have regular office hours, a phone, Facebook page and email.

Volunteer Fort St. James has an office staffed Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. located in the Stuart Lake Seniors Rec. Centre.

The group has created two databases, one of volunteers interested in finding out what opportunities are out there and one of organizations looking for volunteers for different activities.

When people are in the database, any organization which contacts Volunteer Fort St. James can request volunteers for an event or some recurring task, and Volunteer Fort St. James then sends out the request for volunteers via email or phone and gives them the contact for the organization so if they are interested and available they can get in touch. If not, then the volunteer does not have to do anything, simply waits to receive a request they want to pursue.

“It’s not in your face,” said Greenaway.

Jana Gainor and Judy Greenaway help staff the office, and the two said the project will help take the word of mouth work out of finding volunteers, which normally ends up using the same volunteers over and over, while newcomers or new volunteers are not being given the opportunity to help out.

The two pointed out how so many of the recreational facilities and opportunities in the community are as a result of volunteers, and the community relies heavily on them, but the demand for new volunteers is growing as many spend shifts at the mine now or other volunteers burn out.

The ski hill, Music Makers Hall, golf course and curling rink were all made possible by volunteers.

Gainor said youth will be using the service to find sources for their volunteer hours.

So far, the group pays some rent to the seniors to use the office in their facility, and it helps connect seniors with a range of opportunities if they are interested.

“It’s helping the seniors and it’s helping the people in the community,” said Greenaway.