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Letter to the Editor: It's National Volunteer Recognition Week

National Volunteer Week is a reminder for us to honor the many volunteers who share their time and talent to help those in need. The week is meant to be inspiring and to encourage more people to help in their communities. Every president since 19...

National Volunteer Week is a reminder for us to honor the many volunteers who share their time and talent to help those in need. The week is meant to be inspiring and to encourage more people to help in their communities. Every president since 1974 has signed a proclamation in support of National Volunteer Week.

According to Independent Sector, a volunteer's time is worth $23.07 an hour; but even using the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, the impact of volunteerism on the economy is huge.

What would happen if volunteers didn't show up for one day? Churches, schools, hospitals, agencies serving youth and seniors, soup kitchens, food shelves ... the list of nonprofits who depend on volunteers is endless.

I work for Lutheran Social Service Senior Corps. That includes Foster Grandparents serving in schools, Head Starts and shelters. These retirees tutor and mentor at-risk children, helping them reach their academic goals. Senior Companions assist frail seniors to remain living independently. The volunteers make sure seniors get to medical appointments, grocery shopping and provide much needed social support.

The Corporation for National and Community Service programs are: Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, the Social Innovation Fund, and other programs and initiatives. Participants in these programs address community needs in disaster services, economic opportunity, education, the environment, health, and veterans and military families.

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In Minnesota, more than 2,700 AmeriCorps members and 12,000 Senior Corps volunteers are meeting local needs, strengthening communities and increasing civic engagement through national service. This year, CNCS will commit more than $46,620,000 to support Minnesota communities through national service.

These are opportunities for citizens to give back to their community. You don't need to go overseas to address critical needs; many are in our back yard. Visit www.mnseniorcorps.org .

Thanks to everyone who volunteers in our community. You are appreciated.

Marcia Ferris,

Brainerd

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