Keeping things going

Raissa Tetanish
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Organizations dependent on volunteers could be in trouble as population ages

AMHERST - Organizations that depend on volunteers may be in a crunch over the next few years as their workers age.

A new research report from Volunteer Canada says less than 10 per cent of Canadians do more than 75 per cent of the volunteer work from coast to coast.

Sonny Foster is one of those volunteers, having spent more than half a century dedicating his time to organizations such as Amherst Little League and the Amherst Lions Club.

"It's certainly hard to get volunteers now," said Foster. "That's mainly because two parents are working in the family now. Both the mother and father have jobs and when they finish work and get their children ready, they don't have time to do volunteering."

For years, organizations such as Little League have been depending on the same volunteers year after year.

"They are mostly all seniors. We do have some younger volunteers...some will follow with their children through the organizations.

"If not for the veteran volunteers, some of these organizations wouldn't exist," said Foster, adding if he knew what could be done to attract new volunteers he would have tried it long ago.

Along with the little league organization, the LA Animal Shelter relies on its volunteers on a regular basis.

President Christine Storm said it's the volunteer work that keeps the shelter operational.

"We have a lot of volunteers that are willing to come out and walk the dogs and socialize the cats, and that's great," she said, adding the shelter appreciates those volunteers. "But we are really thin on the ground when it comes to volunteers for fundraising, which is of course a major activity of the shelter in order to keep the shelter operating."

Currently the shelter has 2.5 paid employees.

"In an average month, we have about 60 volunteer visits to the shelter. The non-shelter volunteers number about 12 to 15, which includes 10 board members," said Storm.

Storm said the lack of volunteers to help with fundraising is something that bothers those that do spend the time to keep it afloat.

Organizations: Amherst Little League, Amherst Lions Club

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