“My commitment has outlasted eleven cars,” Meals on Wheels driver Everette Burkard laughed, when he considered his more than three decades as a Gold Country Senior Services’ driver. “I’ve met so many outstanding clients,” he recalled. “Delivering meals is an honor for me, as well as a lifeline for them.” Burkard also headed the popular Fruit Jar Pickers for 17 years – a volunteer sing-along band that played at many local assisted living facilities and convalescent homes.

On his way to deliver Meals on Wheels to local seniors, 31-year volunteer, Everette Burkard, loads car No. 11. He’s one of over 125 Gold Country volunteers who pledge their time and energy to helping local seniors. Photo courtesy of Gold Country Senior Services.

“Since April is Volunteer Appreciation Month, it’s time to recognize Everette and our over 125 volunteers,” said Executive Director Janeth Marroletti. Gold Country Senior Services is a local non-profit organization that provides programs and services to support older adults’ health, wellness and independence. Their volunteers dedicate the time and energy it takes to meet that mission. “On average,” she added, “our volunteers serve for fifteen years, and that adds up to a lot of compassion.”

Approximately 63 million people all over America – 25% of our adult population – devote their time to worthwhile causes. Since Nevada County has one of the highest older-adult populations in California, Gold Country Senior Services has built-in appeal when it comes to attracting new volunteers, and there are many ways to make a difference.

Besides the need for more Meals on Wheels drivers, the agency looks forward to welcoming Nutrition volunteers – the ones who work behind the scenes, preparing and packing food and helping drivers load their cars.

“Our Senior Firewood Program needs additional volunteers, as well,” Marroletti confirmed. “Collecting, splitting, stacking and delivering the wood is challenging work, but our volunteers focus on the seniors they serve, many of whom live alone in rural areas, and they rely on these wood supplies for warmth.”

There are also opportunities to share leadership skills, and serve on the board or as an advisor. “Their vision helps us stay on track when it comes to reaching our goals, particularly as plans for our long-awaited Senior Center in Grass Valley progress,” Marroletti said.

Weather conditions and recent high gas prices do not seem to have had an impact on volunteers’ enthusiasm, as week after week they continue to serve seniors. Just as important as the meals and warmth they provide are the smiles they share so readily. Each smile conveys caring and connection. For many seniors, that may be the highlight of their day.

Volunteering also has great benefits. Surveys confirm that 96% said volunteering enriched their lives with a greater sense of purpose. There are other benefits as well, including improved health and a stronger link to their communities. Ask any non-profit organization, board or local government, and each will readily acknowledge how volunteers contribute valuable strength and support.

Let’s take a moment to show our own appreciation, as we honor all local volunteers.

They’re super-stars, and it’s their dedication and kindness that keeps Nevada County a thriving community – one that shines with generosity.

Photo courtesy of Gold Country Senior Services

(caption) On his way to deliver Meals on Wheels to local seniors, 31-year volunteer, Everette Burkard, loads car No. 11. He’s one of over 125 Gold Country volunteers who pledge their time and energy to helping local seniors.

For additional information or to sign up to volunteer, please contact (530) 615-4541 or www.goldcountryservices.org