By Shawn Kirkpatrick
“Helping Opelika-Auburn Seniors Live Independently” – that’s the mantra of the non-profit Village Friends.
But to continue to do that, more volunteers and donations are needed.
Like so many nonprofits, volunteers are vital to the organization’s success, and VF needs many more.
“Right now we have slightly more members than volunteers,” said VF Chief Administrator Latasha Durr.
“The best thing about being a volunteer for VF is you only volunteer when you are available and you are able to do the things that interest you. Like if someone needs to go to the grocery store and you need to go yourself, if it’s something you want to do, you can do it.”
Seniors 60 and older can become members of VF. The fee for a year’s subscription is $240 for a single person and $360 for a couple or household. The services offered include: transportation, deliveries, basic home maintenance, yard care, technology assistance and more. VF President Martha Shepherd said the nonprofit is not indigent or home health care. “We want the community to be aware of what we offer. We are an alternative to home health care. No one wants to leave their home and their surroundings. Even if you lose your independence to drive you can still stay in your house and we can take you to the grocery store or mall.”
An email is sent out once a week to volunteers listing the members that need a service. The volunteers then chose from the list what they are able to do that week.
Shepherd said the beauty of being a volunteer is you don’t have to show up at a certain time.
Many of the members don’t have family that live in town and can help them. They rely on VF for transportation and other needs. VF Web Master Dan Schnittka volunteers by helping the seniors hook up phones and computers, and even changes the occasional light bulb.
“I haven’t lived where my parents are since I was 18 and just knowing there are organizations like this around to support people who don’t have family near-by is part of the reason I volunteer.”
Volunteers are the heart of VF, Durr said. “I see the volunteers as well as the members, and it (VF) makes such a difference in their lives. They really enjoy being a part of the organization, as well as interacting with the volunteers, and being able to maintain their lifestyle.”
To donate your money or time volunteering go to www.village-friends.org.