Service fair to offer chances to volunteer

April 24, 2005|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Carroll County's first volunteer service fair promises information, learning experiences, shopping, entertainment, refreshments and a chance to give time, talent and worldly goods.

The daylong event, sponsored by the Community Services Council, is Saturday at Century High School in Eldersburg. About 45 exhibitors will represent the county's nonprofit organizations, including West End Place Elder Services and the Carroll County Child Care Center.

"We are hoping that the fair will show everyone what nonprofits are doing for the community and what the community might do for them," said JoAnn Goldberger, fair publicity director, who works at the child care center.

Nancy Ensor, director of West End Place, said, "We are not well-known. There are several other adult day cares in the county, but we are the only one that uses a sliding fee scale."

At the main entrance to the school, visitors will find a corridor lined with information booths and volunteer sign-up sheets. Prospective volunteers can also pull an organization's leaf from the volunteer tree, fill it out and take it to the appropriate table.

"The leaves will tell you exactly what the organization needs," said Deborah Porterfield, director of Carroll County's Meals on Wheels. "We will have volunteers hosting every display table, and many of them live in this area. It is so cool to have this in the southern end of the county, because so many other events go on in Westminster."

Audrey Cimino, executive director of the Community Foundation of Carroll County, said the services council, which helped pay for the event with a $5,000 grant from United Way, chose South Carroll because it is the county's most populous and rapidly growing area.

"A lot of these new residents don't have a clue what Carroll has to offer," Cimino said. "They might need help from these groups. We are bringing them information and maybe creating new donors and volunteers for our organizations. People can see how nonprofits help them while touching the lives of others."

Organizers will fill a marketplace with gifts that will help raise funds for the groups, many of whose clients created the florals, craft baskets and note cards that will be available. On an impromptu dance floor in the lobby, Sunday Singles will sway to dance music and State of the Arts Dance Center will perform ballet.

Visitors will have the chance to win one of about 300 door prizes, courtesy of Boscov's, join workshops on myriad topics and undergo health screenings. Participants can learn event planning, dance steps or cardiopulmonary resuscitation for pets -- it's called mouth-to-snout. Century's athletic boosters will do a little fund raising for themselves with food sales.

And, for those whose spring cleaning has left them with gently used items to spare, a truck on the school's front parking lot will accept donations.

"Bring your donations of clothing, nonperishable food, office and school supplies, just about anything we can use," said Kathy Brown, director of Shepherd's Staff, an ecumenical ministry to the needy. "We will turn them into a truckful of giving."

Some items might not make it into the truck if any exhibitor spots something needed right away.

"We will take your unwanted stuff and give it to those who need it," said Goldberger.

There is no admission fee for the fair.

"This is your chance to become part of the community," Ensor said.

The Carroll County Service Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Century High School, 355 Ronsdale Road, Sykesville. Information: 410-857-5944.

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