HERE’S TO VOLUNTEERS!

Posted on December 15, 2020 Al Greater-Placer Nugget

Written by Carol Barry

“Congratulate yourself whenever you have done your best, regardless of the outcome.”   Jonathan Lockwood Huie

It’s that time of year . . . you know the drill . . . it’s all about counting our blessings, letting go of the trials and tribulations of the current year, and anticipating a fresh new year.  We get to start over, resolve not to make the same mistakes again, to shed that weight we didn’t lose in 2020, to exercise more, breathe more fresh air, bury our regrets under the maple tree in the backyard.  Start afresh! Yeah, we may be longing desperately for a facial and massage, to have our nails done, to get a haircut. . . does anyone even remember what those are like?  However, perhaps we are now more independent, still able to fend for ourselves and proud of our resourcefulness.

Speaking of resourcefulness!  Our beloved Thrift Shop closed its doors, AGAIN, on December 12, 2020. Our dedicated managers Karol Hodgson and Jan Krug admit that they have no idea when it will reopen this time.  They have somehow survived a challenging and worrisome year and managed to continue to run a very productive enterprise!  “We serve a need for affordable clothing and goods in our community,” Karol affirms, “but many of our volunteers and customers are over age 55, one of the most vulnerable age groups for the COVID-19 virus.  Not one of our 25-30 dedicated volunteer staff and 7 managers has tested positive for the virus, by the grace of God, but we have been worried. We spent a lot of time discussing what to do. In the light of recent surges in active cases following Thanksgiving, we decided not to take any chances & closed the doors.  Our very understanding Board of Directors supported this decision.”

But Santa’s amazing elves didn’t simply run off into the woods!  Absolutely dedicated volunteers were consistent about being there during the COVID months, with few exceptions. The last four days prior to closing the Thrift Shop’s doors (over a one week period) were a frenzy of ‘CRAZY GOOD’ BIG BLOWOUT sales.  Word spread fast! All week long there were lines of eager shoppers waiting at the door (a quota of 10 shoppers at a time was observed). Christmas/holiday stock was depleted and lucky customers paid 50% less than marked prices for EVERYTHING.  Dedicated volunteers continued to sort, price, clean, stock shelves, and ring up customers right until the very last moment.  They hung in there and were extraordinary! 

Running any business during the COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful, and, sadly, many have simply had to shut their doors. What kept our Thrift Shop going has a lot to do with its managers and volunteers.  For many, their dedication to Assistance League® of Greater Placer has to do with filling a need in their own lives, a longing to feel productive, to contribute to a cause greater than themselves.  Karol Hodgson and Jan Krug are super examples.  The “word on the street” about these two is that they never go home; that they roll out their bedrolls in the back room every night, hightail it down to El Agave for a take-out meal, and brainstorm into the wee hours on how to make the Thrift Shop thrive!

Assistance League® of Greater Placer is counting its blessings as we approach the end of 2020.  Over 100 members attend our monthly Zoom meetings. The Annex continues to host small committee meetings. Members’ phones are still ringing, as they collaborate, brainstorm, orchestrate coat drives, find grant monies, collaborate with other non-profits. Leadership teams form task forces to examine our effectiveness. We are discovering that creative minds cannot be turned off!  Resourceful members amaze us daily with new ideas to enable us to continue to assist our community under very restricted circumstances.   These productive “elves” are proof that the new year is one to anticipate with joy and hope in our hearts. 

“Join with all those who experiment, take risks, fall, get hurt and then take more risks.”      Paulo Coelho


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