Community Services of Starke County held its volunteer luncheon yesterday afternoon, recognizing more than 100 volunteers and 50 agencies for their many hours of hard work and their overwhelming contributions to the agency.
One organization in particular was recognized for going above and beyond with their assistance to Community Services. Ober Arbor Gleaners Club received the Volunteer of the Year award, having donated to the food pantry, helped pay for the air conditioner at Community Services, assisted at Golden Living Nursing Home and the Humane Society, Love INC, and countless individuals.
Community Services Director Joan Haugh said the Ober Arbor Gleaners Club was chosen because of their commitment to volunteerism.
“We asked the community and our board to nominate persons for volunteer of the year. We do this every other year because it’s supposed to be a surprise at our annual recongition, and Ober Arbor Gleaners Club was chosen because of their continued commitment over the years,” Haugh said. “They’ve helped us greatly with our expenses for the air conditioner, for carpeting, for TVs, and the food pantry, so they were the one that the board selected.”
Community Services of Starke County operates three major programs including elderly services, community services, and public transportation, funding for which is provided from federal and state funds through organizations like Northwest Indiana Community Action Corporation, North Central Community Action Agencies, and Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission.
Other local agencies provide support for the organization as well, including the Starke County Commissioners, the city of Knox, the township trustees, the Starke County Community Foundation, Starke United Fund, Operation Roundup of Kankakee Valley REMC, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development plus many churches, businesses, and most of all, volunteers.
Agency Director Joan Haugh Said volunteers are a key factor in helping the agency provide its services.
“We could not produce the quality or the quantity of services without our volunteers,” Haugh said. “Based on the minimum wage, they contributed $48,000 worth of volunteer time last year, which is significant. Receptionists kind of monitor who’s coming in and out, they answer the phones and greet people, and of course, the food pantry – oh my goodness, that’s a never-ending job.”
For more information or to volunteer, please call the office at (574) 772-7070.