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Volunteers help make community a better place

Posted: April 26, 2013 - 8:02am

Volunteers help nonprofit organizations provide services that are not covered in the operational budget. Individuals may answer the phone or perform other office chores or clean bathrooms or sort donated products. Upcoming events include National Volunteer Week April 21 to 27 and Global Youth Service Day April 26 to 28.

According to National & Community Service website, in 2011 33.6 percent of Alaska residents volunteer ranking them 11th among the 50 states and Washington, DC. Alaskan resident statistics include:

■ 45.7 volunteer hours per resident

■ 72.1 percent do favors for their neighbors

■ 91.5 percent eat dinner with their family a few times a week or more

■ 59.6 percent discuss politics a few times a month or more

■ 177,950 volunteers

■ 24.2 million hours of service

■ $527.4 million of service contributed.

Alaskans volunteer at a higher percentage than the overall rate of Western United States residents which is 28.4 percent. Comparing Alaska to Montana, in Montana the volunteer rate in 2011 was 29.6 percent. In 1989, the number of volunteers in Montana outnumbered Alaska volunteers by 80,000 although by 2011 variance was only 55,000.

On the Kenai Peninsula, volunteer opportunities are available at a nonprofit organization, religious organization or government advisory boards or committees. Choices range from one day a year to once a week opportunities. Remember when you told your mother you were bored and had nothing to do? Not here on the Kenai Peninsula whether you live in the central Peninsula, southern Peninsula or on the eastern side. Housebound or disabled? An organization has a project for you!

Examples of volunteerism at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank include knitting or crocheting hats for clients, sorting fruits, vegetables or canned goods, fundraising activities, folding newsletters, working in the hoop house or garden or helping in the Fireweed Diner. In 2012, volunteers worked over 9,445 hours at the Food Bank! If each volunteer hour is valued at minimum wage which is very low, volunteers gave $73,198 worth of their time.

Please contact me if you have any questions of volunteering on the Kenai Peninsula!

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