GREENFIELD — The number of volunteers who expressed interest in helping out at Hancock Regional Hospital overwhelmed Dawn Earlywine.
Adding more than 30 names to her list will make the hospital’s volunteer base stronger, said Earlywine, program director of volunteer services at the hospital.
The hospital was one of more than 25 local nonprofit organizations that attended Wednesday’s 10th annual volunteer fair, which featured volunteer opportunities for adults, youth and families who want to help their community.
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Conducted in conjunction with National Volunteer Week and sponsored by the Hancock County Public Library and United Way of Central Indiana, the event provided a one-stop shop for individuals and groups seeking ways to give back to the community. It gave nonprofit organizations the chance to share what they do in the community and how people can help.
Though the event doesn’t typically have a theme, this year, organizers adorned the venue with superhero decorations — a tribute to the volunteers who help keep local organizations running.
“We think all of our volunteers are heroes, so it’s a fitting theme,” said Jeannie Roberts, United Way of Central Indiana volunteer engagement coordinator.
Attendance started out slowly, but after an hour, there was a steady stream of people of all ages at the event.
Earlywine said she was particularly impressed that so many Eastern Hancock middle and high school students attended.
Elise Huffman, an eighth-grader and a member of the National Junior Honor Society, attended with several of her classmates to learn about local volunteer opportunities. As a member of the honor society, she’s required to volunteer for at least five hours every semester.
She stopped at the hospital’s booth because she wants to be a doctor, she said.
Representatives of Meals on Wheels of Hancock County were pleased with the interest expressed in volunteering for their organization.
Within the first hour of the event, there were two people who showed strong interest in joining the organization’s troop of volunteers, said executive director Kathleen Vahle.
Meals on Wheels is seeking volunteers to help assemble meals and to deliver them to home-bound citizens, Vahle said.
Organizations were also looking for volunteers to help after a disaster.
The Red Cross, Central Indiana division, which serves Marion County and surrounding counties, is seeking residents who are willing to respond to disasters such as house fires, said Hadiah Rice, an AmeriCorps disaster response team member.
Though many of the organizations present are dedicated to helping people facing problems, such as homelessness and hunger, one local organization with representatives at the event aims to spruce up city streets.
Regreening Greenfield, an organization that works to plant trees along Greenfield city streets, was looking for volunteers interested in being board members as well as residents willing to help maintain trees planted by members.
Typically, the volunteer fair draws about 200 people to the library, Roberts said.
Though the event features many of the same organizations year after year, organizers look forward to seeing nonprofits join the fair for the first time, Roberts said.
The Hancock County 4-H Agriculture Association, a long-standing community organization, for example, attended the event for the first time.
The event also featured organizations that aren’t local. Representatives for Changing Footprints, which has a charter in Rushville, are trying to launch a chapter in Hancock County, said board member Jack Williams.
Williams’ branch of the organization, which donates new or gently used shoes to shelters, individuals or families in need, was hoping to partner with Hancock County organizations to provide shoes to local families.
He was pleased to learn the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen would be able to take some of the organization’s 6,000 pairs of shoes and offer them to residents in need.
Are you looking for volunteer opportunities in Hancock County but missed the volunteer fair?
Contact Jeannie Roberts at United Way of Central Indiana by calling 317-477-2345 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She can help individuals or groups find volunteer work that fits their schedules.