Volunteers are key to senior programs

Among the numerous events offered by Stanly County Senior Services was the recent 90-Plus Birthday Celebration.

Following the event, Senior Services Director Pam Sullivan told the SNAP, “We couldn’t make programs like this happen without our volunteers.”

Programs the department offers are indeed volunteer-intensive. Whether a monthly luncheon, an exercise class, the annual Uwharrie Senior Games or services such as tax preparation or legal aid, volunteers are instrumental in many operational roles as well as behind-the-scenes preparations.

At a recent event, The SNAP reached out to a number of these volunteers, all of whom cite enjoyment and active fellowship as primary reasons they step up.

Linda Layton of Norwood has been volunteering for more than 10 years, and is a regular at Senior Services activities.

“I participate as much as I volunteer,” she said, adding that she was “recruited” by the late Ron Crawley to get involved, first in Senior Games, then as a member of the Friends of the Senior Center board.

“We are blessed to have so many activities offered here,” said Layton, as she assisted in serving cake and ice cream to a group gathered at the Senior Center.

Many of the Senior Services activities utilizing volunteers are “fun and games” events. But, for a group of around 13 volunteers who work four to five days a week from February to April at the Senior Center, a dreaded chore for most is an enjoyable activity for them.

The activity?

Tax preparation.

Isabelle Howard is a long-time volunteer in assisting seniors with preparing their annual tax returns, and credits another long-serving volunteer, Walter Deppe, with getting her involved and keeping the program going.

“The cost to have taxes done by an accountant or by a commercial tax preparation service is often too high for seniors to afford,” said Howard. “We are here to help them out when tax time rolls around.”

Marie Smith is another long-time volunteer who has done “a little of everything.”

“I enjoy helping out however and whenever I can,” she said. “I’ve taught craft classes, yoga and exercise classes, too.”

While she poured tea and lemonade for participants at the 90-Plus Birthday event, she said, “I volunteer every chance I get, because I just love coming here. All Senior Centers should be as good as this one.”

Assisting Smith was Teresa Wagoner, a “newbie” on the volunteer scene.

“I grew up in Albemarle,” Wagoner said, “then I moved away to Greensboro before moving back this past May. This event is the first time I’ve volunteered.”

Wagoner says she is volunteering as a way of “trying to re-connect.”

“I feel at home in Albemarle, even though I was gone for a while. I hope to do more of this (volunteering) in the future.”
Interested in volunteering at Stanly County Senior Services?

Call 704-986-3769 or visit 283 N. Third St., Albemarle. The Stanly County Senior Center is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.