Volunteer Enthusiasm Up Locally

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, January 22, 2009

Suzanne Armor is a volunteer at the River City Community Services food bank for the needy in Downtown Sacramento. 

“I sign people in as they come for food and assist with packaging food for them.” 

The retired property manager is relatively new to volunteering. 

“Since I’m retired, I decided this was how I could help those who are less fortunate than I.”
And she’s not alone. Local volunteer groups say they’re hearing from a lot more people who want to help.

Christie Holderegger is with Volunteers of America in Sacramento. She says although charities are generally seeing a decline in donations, the good news is that more people are showing up to help…compared to this time last year. 

“At least 30% increase and we’re still getting, I mean we already have a couple hundred applications that have come in in the last month.” 

Steve Heath heads the Sacramento area United Way. He says they’re also seeing an increase but it’s too soon to say whether President Obama’s call to service is having an influence.

Heath attributes much of the interest to the sour economy.  

“It’s partially a function of the fact that unfortunately some people have tumbled out of the workforce and have time on their hands and recognized that volunteering is one very excellent way of filling that extra time.” 

And with the unemployment rate expected to rise, local non-profits may see interest in volunteering go up even more.