In the monthly meeting of the Ashe County Volunteer Advisory Board, members unanimously approved a proclamation which will salute volunteers in the county.
The proclamation will be read before the Board of Ashe County Commissioners on Oct. 21, to be signed so the volunteers will be recognized. This is part of the Ashe County Volunteer Initiative Program’s agenda for National Make a Difference Day, which occurs Saturday, Oct. 26.
“A lot of places within the county are commenting that they are planning on doing various volunteer activities,” volunteer board member Glenda Luther said.
Luther said that volunteers in Ashe County work a total 1,000 hours per day and it saves the county $8 million a year. After the commissioners sign the proclamation, it will be framed.
Volunteering has numerous benefits for both the community and the people which volunteer. It helps build connections, keeps people physically healthy and even combats depression.
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteering can also lead to sooner employment. Volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers, and volunteers in rural areas have a 55 percent higher likelihood of finding employment.
The board also discussed ways to continue drawing people into the annual volunteer fair.
“We didn’t have quite as many vendors as we had last year, but we had a good number,” Luther said.
This year, the volunteer fair was held in conjunction with the Quilt Fair, hosted by the county’s Piecemakers Quilt Guild. The Quilt Fair was a two-day event, the volunteer fair ran from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the first day.
Luther said the Quilt Fair averaged between 600 and 700 people, with approximately 400 people walking in through the hours the volunteer fair was there. In its second year, the volunteer fair continued building connections amongst the other organizations through networking.
The Volunteer Initiative Program was started in 1986 by the Ashe County Board of Commissioners. Every year the program recognizes all programs in the county annually.
Luther said last year over 200 groups and individuals were recognized in 2013’s event.
“One of our main projects is to have the awards ceremony every spring to directly recognize all of these volunteers,” Gary Poe, a board member said.
In other action taken by the board:
• The board discussed ways to promote its upcoming canned food drive, including setting up a booth at various drop off locations throughout the drive.
• The board began discussing plans on its annual award ceremony.
• In attendance was: Carolyn Shepard, Gary Poe, Glenda Luther, Rebecca Williams, Jennifer Richardson and Terry Kimmer. The next meeting will take place Nov. 12.