Volunteers keep Earth Day spirit alive

Volunteer Week and Earth Day often intersect on the calendar, this year being one of them.

It just so happens today is Earth Day, while Volunteer Week kicked off last Sunday and runs until Saturday.

Perhaps its only fitting the two can take place simultaneously as it’s not uncommon for volunteers to pitch in and clean up garbage from local ditches and green spaces. It’s certainly not glamorous, but it is noticeable. More importantly, it would get noticed if it didn’t happen. As it said every year, it’s unfortunate that volunteers even have to saunter into road side ditches to pick up bottles, coffee cups, wrappers and any other trash that other people couldn’t bother to dispose of properly.

As disappointing as it can be to see trash strewn about, it’s equally refreshing to see the photos that circulated around local social media this week of volunteers collecting hundreds of trash bags worth of junk. People of all ages took part, covering large pockets of the community.

Earth Day cleanups will once again look different this year, but it’s assuring to know they are still taking place. Rather than meeting in a large group at the Napanee Mall and then heading out in teams to tidy up sections of the community, they’re taking place in small social bubbles. Not even a pandemic is enough to stop volunteers with big hearts and an eye toward the future. For that we should all be grateful. We are fortunate enough to live in one of the most naturally beautiful parts of the province. Having a community that is mostly free of garbage not only helps the environment, but it adds a nice sparkle to an already great place to live. That doesn’t happen by accident, only through the dedication of members of the community willing to put in the extra effort to make up for those who can’t be bothered.

Local volunteerism goes beyond Earth Day cleanups. When searching for a feature to recognize Volunteer Week, this reporter reached out to KFLA Public Health. Given that COVID-19 has dominated headlines for nearly a year and a half now, the hope was to find a good news story relating to volunteers doing their part to help in the fight against the pandemic. As usual, the residents of KFLA didn’t disappoint. Just as expected, volunteers across the region have turned out in force to assist in anyway they can with contact tracing, at immunization clinics or setting up vaccination appointments.

Given the community spirit of this region, it can be easy to take for granted the fact that people will be willing to help out for no monetary gain, simply because they want to better the community. Volunteer Week is a great opportunity to pause and give a big ‘thank-you’ to those who do. The may not do it for the accolades but local volunteers still deserve recognition every now and again. Thank-you to all who give back in any way they can.

Adam Prudhomme

error: Content is protected !!