It’s election season. You can tell because of all the irritating robocalls bombarding the house, the 50 letters asking me to vote by mail and the sprouting of yard signs on every foot of available real estate. It is already creating voter fatigue for me.
I decided to take a break from the negativity by disconnecting to the national news and a lot of social media. What I have been doing at work is monitoring the annual reports of the many Kiwanis Clubs across the state; they have been uplifting.
First off, they too, have struggled; one of the important components of our organization has always been fellowship. While meetings involve planning service projects and fundraising activities, they often include speakers, educational, inspirational or entertaining; they deliver food for thought. The meetings also provide an opportunity for fellowship — the simple act of sharing a meal creates an opportunity to develop and deepen friendships.
Most of our clubs have not had the opportunity to do this since March. It’s been difficult for our clubs and our members. Membership has struggled with figuring out new ways of doing business, new technology and creative ways of adapting fundraisers so they can continue to support our communities. It’s taken a while, but they are figuring it out.
What I do admire is the interest many clubs have taken with supporting the mental health of many facilities with individuals who are at high risk for catching COVID-19. Clubs in the tiniest of towns have purchased tablet — type devises so residents can FaceTime or Zoom with family members. It’s not the same as face to face, but being able to see the expressions of beloved family members as you communicate makes a tremendous difference for individuals isolated and with hearing issues.
Several clubs have started sending cards and notes to care and rehabilitation centers. Being able to send out birthday cards, or notes is such an important connection, and some have even started pen pal programs with residents to establish connections for individuals who really don’t have anyone.
Another club did an activity drive, collecting classic movie DVD’s, puzzles, board games, large print books, magazines, crossword and word-find books and even arts and crafts supplies. As a result, they were able to provide items to three local facilities, which had been on lockdown for the residents since April.
The activity director from one facility wept with appreciation, when handed a bag of prizes for Bingo. She told the Kiwanis Club; they had been struggling with keeping their residents engaged and busy while fighting the depression which came from all the deprivations they have endured. The donations were an absolute blessing.
Our family has a dear relative in a care facility right now. Thankfully, we can take items for her to utilize during her stay, but I can’t imagine how residents with no resources must feel. If you have abundance to share, I hope you will consider contacting the local care facilities, even some of the correction institutes are looking for items; to donate your “extras”.
If you are looking for a service organization to join, every national organization, Kiwanis, Rotary, Civitan, Lions, Odd Fellows, etc., will have a website to connect to and to share information regarding their organization. Connect. Serve. Pay it Forward or Pay it Back, Make a Difference.
As artist Marjorie Moore once stated, “Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.”
Written and submitted by Sarah Roush for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.