The dictionary offers a description for volunteer: "to offer one's service or oneself for some duty or purpose."
There are several opportunities in the community for us to do just that. As we get back to our fall routines, here are just a few places we might consider.
* Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver meals to shut-ins or anyone unable to prepare their own meals. It takes about two hours a day, Monday through Friday, for two people, a driver and a helper working together. Volunteering one day a month would be a tremendous help.
Two routes leave from St. John's Lutheran Church in Linthicum and are coordinated by two local women, Hester Richardson and Pauline Bottiger. Both women are in charge of a different route and are responsible for recruiting volunteers.
Ms. Richardson handles Route Six, delivering food to about 14 clients in Linthicum and Ferndale.
"I particularly need more help at this time, I've had many quit for one reason or another," she said.
After getting the boxes from St. John's, her volunteers drive to the Pascal Senior Center, where they pick up the food. They deliver one hot meal, which the client eats for lunch, and a cold meal that is saved for dinner. The empty boxes are then returned to St. John's for the next day.
"Sometimes the whole trip is made in an hour and a half," Ms. Richardson said.
Pauline Bottiger is in charge of Route One. Her volunteers start and finish at St. John's, but pick up their food at a church in the city and deliver it to about 12 clients in Curtis Bay and Brooklyn. Most of her volunteers, though, are recruited from Linthicum and Ferndale.
"I can use help now. I don't have any substitutes, and sometimes my husband and I have had to make eight trips a month ourselves," she said.
L She feels that Meals on Wheels is a very worthwhile program.
"It's just wonderful to serve these people. If a person goes on a trip just once, they will go again," she said.
If you can help in any capacity, driver, helper or substitute, these ladies would like to hear from you. Call Richardson at 859-5370 or Bottiger at 766-5096.
If you want to help make Linthicum a safer place to live, the Linthicum Security Patrol is one way to do it. The patrol, started in the summer of 1992 by the Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association, provides security patrols during all hours of the day during the week. Residents patrol all residential areas of Linthicum in cars marked with magnetic signs.
Mike Daniel and Dick Vehlow coordinate the patrol for the association. Mr. Daniel said that at the present time they have about 40 volunteers on the roster and would welcome the assistance of more residents. Most volunteers give two hours a month, at a time that is convenient to them. The volunteers are equipped with a cellular phone and are in communication with emergency people while on patrol.
"We prefer that two people go out together," Mr. Daniel said. "That way one can concentrate on driving while the other is looking."
The patrol's purpose is to observe and report any suspicious activity to the police. Volunteers also get a list of rules for their protection.
Mr. Daniel is the patrol liaison with the county police and is on the association's board of directors. For more information or to volunteer, call him at 859-8586.
About a year ago two women in our community, Lucille Killian and her sister-in-law Clarita Donahue, read in the newspaper about an organization called the North County Emergency Outreach Network. This seemed to them to be a worthwhile effort to feed those in need, so they called and offered their help.
The network started as a coalition of churches and organizations in the area who joined together to help neighbors in surrounding communities. Whether the neighbors are in need because of homelessness, sickness or other reasons, the network tries to help. It provides food and money, and helps clients who might be having a problem with an eviction or are threatened with having their gas and electricity shut off.
Ms. Killian has served as an interviewer since she began. Her job is to listen to the client's needs and circumstances and determine how the network can help. She enjoys her work there and finds it rewarding.
"I like the people I work with," she said. "I work with some very nice people, but there are some sad moments too."
Ms. Donahue said, "I'm a bagger. I bag what groceries we have and give them to the client." She said she tries to put groceries together that will make a meal, but sometimes it is difficult. Donations are down during the summer, but the network does the best it can.
"They forget people have to eat all year," said Ms. Donahue, who volunteers two days a month.
Marsha Frazier, who schedules the volunteers, agrees.
"From spring to October, we struggle," she said. "Sometimes there is no food or money available."
Right about now, she said, the need is desperate.