If you have ever visited the SOS Thrift Shop, you have been helped by a volunteer. If you, or your neighbour has received a meal from Meals on Wheels, that meal was delivered by an SOS volunteer. If you know children and youth who are participants in SOS programs, those programs are strengthened with the help of SOS volunteers. If you have had your income tax filed through SOS, that tax return has been completed by an SOS volunteer. If you dropped off a gift to the SOS Christmas program, a volunteer helped that gift find a home.

“Most people who live in the Oceanside community have been touched by the kindness and generosity of volunteers,” says Andy Telfer, coordinator of volunteer resources at SOS. “Next week during National Volunteer Week, SOS joins all Canadians in thanking volunteers for making our communities stronger, and more connected.”

SOS is grateful for a roster of over 350 volunteers, who help deliver 30 programs at SOS, ranging from medical drives and services for seniors, to after school programs for teens, parent groups for new moms – and everything in between.

“We simply would not be able to offer the range of programming that we do to the community if it were not for our volunteers. One week in the year to recognize them seems like such a brief moment in time, when in our hearts we are thanking them every moment that they are delivering SOS services to the community,” adds Telfer.

SOS volunteers were honoured at a special SOS volunteers luncheon on April 8, the highlight of which was recognizing two volunteers, Verna Jenkins and Edith Chamberlayne, who have been with SOS since the very beginning, 45 years ago. Both women continue to contribute their time and energy to the community today, and personify the qualities that are recognized during National Volunteer Week, which runs April 6-12.

“SOS recently received the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Award for Social Innovator,” says Renate Sutherland, executive director of Society of Organized Services. “Imagine the power behind every act of kindness delivered by our volunteers over many years, so that one non-profit organization in small-town Canada, earned national recognition by our Prime Minister.

“Of course we are very honoured by the award, but we are thousands of times more honoured that our volunteers care enough about others in the community, and choose to give their time and energy to SOS. To be able to share this recognition with our volunteers next week, and recognize volunteers who have been with us since day one, makes this National Volunteer Week extra special,” added Sutherland.