By Assemblyman Will Barclay
This time of year, there are a number of foot soldiers out there working to make someone’s holiday special.
Whether it’s adopting a family to make sure they have presents under the tree, or working at a local community dinner to ensure that people have a warm holiday meal in good company, many volunteer their time to give back to their community.
I continue to be humbled at the way our community gives in time, talent, and resources.
Many holiday events are successful because of volunteers.
Though volunteers will clock extra hours during the holidays, it isn’t just around the holidays that they work hard.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013, roughly 62.6 million people volunteered at least an hour of their time. Volunteers spent a median of 50 hours throughout the year on volunteer activities.
The United Way often acts as a clearinghouse for volunteers and can match those willing to help with organizations in need. In Onondaga County, residents can contact the United Way of Central New York at http://unitedway-cny.org/ or call 428-2211.
In Oswego County, residents can contact the United Way of Oswego County at http://www.oswegounitedway.org/ or call 315-593-1900.
In Jefferson County, residents can visit http://www.unitedway-nny.org or call 315-788-5631.
All of their websites list many local organizations which accept volunteers such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities, to name a few.
Volunteers are also able to contact organizations directly to see how they can help.
This year, our office is helping with the effort Tithe My Shoes. This was started by Millard “Mudd” Murphy, former mayor of Central Square, who is hoping to gather 1,000 pairs of slightly worn shoes and boots from around the local area by Dec. 15. Our office is serving as a collection point. The shoes will be delivered to Discount Shoe Repair in Syracuse and the owner, Ralph Rotella, fixes them up so the shoes can be donated to those who need them through the Rescue Mission.
Last year, Rotella collected more than 4,000 pairs of shoes.
If you have any shoes that would help in the cause, they can be brought to my office at the the second floor of 200 N. Second St. in Fulton, above the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Whatever the cause, large or small, volunteering contributes to a greater quality of life for the whole community.
Studies show volunteering is a primary way to bring people together to reconnect society and alleviate many social problems.
It also saves money on staff for charitable organizations.
More recent studies show volunteering can be beneficial to your health.
Whether it’s teaching someone to read or knitting baby blankets for newborns, volunteers are appreciated and necessary.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.
My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.