Volunteers wrap gifts at Shannon Oaks for the annual Be A Santa to a Senior campaign that gets gifts to those who might not otherwise get them at the holidays. Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News

Non-profits open doors for National Volunteer Week

Oak Bay organizations celebrate their volunteers with special events later this spring

Local organizations embrace and recognize their volunteers in myriad ways.

This week, April 23 to 29 marks the official week to celebrate and recognize volunteerism.

Volunteer Victoria organized a “smorgasbord” of volunteer sessions for the public across the region. The schedule represents different causes and organizations within the non-profit sector.

“Volunteerism has a tremendous impact in our community and to our local economy,” said Lisa Mort-Putland, executive director with Volunteer Victoria. “With more than 3,000 non-profit organizations in Greater Victoria, we know that volunteers contribute millions of hours, skills, and passion to ideas, causes, and spaces that matter. Non-profits couldn’t survive without the service of volunteers. It just wouldn’t be possible.”

According to the 2013 Spotlight on Canadians: 12.7 million Canadians or 44 per cent of people, aged 15 years and older, participated in some form of volunteer work in 2013. Nearly half, 49 per cent, of British Columbians volunteered an average of 148 hours per year.

In Oak Bay, the Monterey Recreation Centre is always on the lookout for the volunteers that drive fundraising and other special events.

“We are always welcoming new volunteers,” said Lesley Cobus, Monterey co-ordinator. “Interested adults age 50-plus are invited to come into the centre for info on all the volunteer opportunities available.”

Monterey Recreation Centre recognizes its volunteers on May 3 with a special evening event.

This year, Oak Bay Volunteer Services celebrates 40 years of providing provides direct volunteer services to Oak Bay residents on a one-to-one basis. Clients live in Oak Bay, can be of any age, and are individuals in need of volunteer help because of health, financial or other needs. To learn more about how to volunteer with the local organization call 250-595-1034 or drop by 101-2167 Oak Bay Ave. (Oak Bay municipal hall).

Many non-profits open their doors for public tours, info sessions, and active volunteer activities this week including: Greater Victoria Green Team, North & South Saanich Agricultural Fair, The Rainbow Kitchen, Baptist Housing, Canadian Red Cross, The Mustard Seed, Victoria Brain Injury Society, Intrepid Theatre, Soap for Hope – Disaster Aid Canada, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria, Ready to Rent BC, Community Options for Children and Families and My Open Road.

Visit volunteervictoria.bc.ca for a comprehensive list.