A volunteer helping to sort and stock shelves in the food bank.
By Lynne Marsala Basche; photo courtesy of the Douglas/Elbert Task Force
Fifteen thousand six hundred and eighty-four. This is the number of people the Douglas/Elbert Task Force served last year. Our neighbors. Our community. Fifteen thousand six hundred and eighty-four. If you want to make a tangible difference in peoples’ lives, consider volunteering at the Douglas/Elbert Task Force.
Despite Douglas County being ranked number seven in Forbes magazine’s 2012 list of America’s richest counties, the demand for individuals needing assistance continues to grow. Celebrating its 30th anniversary next year, the Douglas/Elbert Task Force serves as a resource to meet the immediate needs of Douglas and Elbert County residents who are facing financial hardships and are at risk of becoming homeless.
With only two full-time and nine part-time paid employees, the task force relies heavily on volunteers. In 2012, task force volunteers logged more than 28,000 hours, and community service volunteers - including high school students needing community service hours - recorded more than 4,000 hours. The hours that both groups provided equals 20 full-time employees!
Volunteers may choose where to help. Treasures on Park Street, which is the task force’s thrift store, needs people to review, organize, price, and shelve donations. Food bank volunteers inspect, sort and stock shelves, as well as gather items to fill client orders. Volunteers are needed for general office work, fundraising and public relations-type activities, and various event participation. The task force encourages volunteers to be creative and hold their own fundraisers, such as food and/or clothing drives. This is a fantastic way to get kids involved in helping their community.
The only agenda at the task force is to help people in need, with dignity. The sense of fulfillment and joy, as well as the employee and volunteer commitment to Douglas and Elbert County residents is what Joe Roos, the director of philanthropy, refers to when he says the Task Force is “the best ‘love story’ in Douglas and Elbert County.”
If you are able make a six-month commitment with at least 10 hours per month, contact Kathy D’Amore at 303-688-1114 x14 or visit www.detaskforce.org/volunteer. If you would like to support the Douglas/Elbert Task Force but are not able to volunteer your time, consider making a tax-deductible donation at www.detaskforce.org/donate.
To learn more about the Douglas/Elbert Task force, visit www.detaskforce.org.
Editor’s Note: I received the following e-mail from the writer who wrote this story: “After speaking with Joe Roos, I was so moved by what the Task Force does for people in our community that I was wondering if I could write a more human interest-type story about them for a future edition? I honestly didn’t know much about the Task Force, but to hear that last year they distributed over $697,803 in food, hygiene and household supplies - and that 85 percent of their clients receive these basic services - floored me! Did you know they have a “birthday room” where parents, who cannot afford presents for their children, can go pick out new gifts to give their children? (I have to admit that I teared up when Joe told me a child stopped by to donate the presents he received for his birthday to the ‘birthday room.’ I know, I’m a bit of a sap...) In addition to all of the information I got today, Joe offered to give me a tour, so I think I could write a solid, interesting article