(From left to right) AHCS thrift store volunteers Larry Merchison, Ray Meisner, Cathie Meisner, Debbie Simpson, Dawn Arnold, Sharon Thorpe and Robyn Merchison gather around a table before the AHCS volunteer lunch on April 9. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Agassiz, Harrison volunteers share why they give back to the community

Agassiz Harrison Community Services volunteers were celebrated with an annual lunch

Ask Larry Merchison why he volunteers, and the answer is easy: to give back to the community.

“Being retired, it’s a good chance to give back to the community what they gave to us,” the 71-year-old said, sitting at a table with six other volunteers. “The community itself gives to us, so it’s our time to give back to the community and help out the people who need help.”

Merchison has been a volunteer with the Agassiz Harrison Community Services (AHCS) for the last three years, spending his time sorting through tools brought in to the thrift store. The other six volunteers at his table also volunteered at the thrift store, putting in their time to help others in the community.

“Many of us don’t have a lot of money, despite the fact there’s a lot of need in the community,” table-mate Dawn Arnold added. “So (volunteering) is our way of making things more equitable.”

RELATED: LETTER: Agassiz-Harrison Community Services says thank you to volunteers

On Tuesday, April 9, these volunteers and nearly 80 others were seated inside Harrison’s Memorial Hall for a celebration lunch in honour of their devotion to volunteerism. Community members gathered around tables, chatting with the friends they had made through their time with AHCS. At the side of the room, a community services staff member organized the certificates of appreciation that had been printed for each volunteer.

On average, AHCS has more than 100 volunteers, all doing different jobs for the service provider. Some, like Merchison and Arnold, volunteer with the thrift store, which helps raise funds for the organization. Others, like Corrie and Garrett Oosterom, volunteer at the food bank and during holiday food drives.

Although each person had noble reasons for giving their time to AHCS, there was a benefit for the volunteers as well.

“I moved here five years ago, and it was a good way to meet people,” Mary Murphy said. “In the thrift shop, a lot of people come through, and you get to know people.”

“It’s like Mary said, meeting people,” Robin McCullough added from the seat beside her. “Meeting people is really what we get out of it.”



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Agassiz Community Health Centre welcomes its newest doctor

Nikki Cohen is one of three doctors practicing at the local health clinic

No home for Agassiz Community Garden on school district land

The garden is still homeless after SD78 said no to the society using the McCaffrey School property

Chilliwack school board making effort to foster better relationships

Board reaching out to parents via dinner event, and online forum

PHOTO: Pollination time

Hyacinths attract bees looking for pollen

Sardis Library hosting Star Wars-themed escape room

Participants asked to summon the force for week-long attraction

VIDEO: Agassiz, Harrison celebrate National Pet Day

From cats and dogs to lizards and chickens, residents showed off the animals that enrich their lives

Anti-SOGI activist slams ban on B.C. dad speaking out about transgender son’s case

A judge has told the father to stop publicly objecting to his son’s gender

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Victims injured in Lower Mainland deck collapse ranged from 15 to 83 years old

Victim Services staff have reached out to those hurt and their families

‘Ghost restaurants’ cooked up by Joseph Richard Group to meet demand of delivered food

The new Meal Ticket Brands venture aims to ‘disrupt’ the local restaurant industry

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Torched SUV linked to Vancouver’s fourth homicide

Manoj Kumar, 30, was found dead from gunshot wounds in the Kitsilano neighbourhood

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Ex-mayor of northern village claims its drivers are overpaying ICBC $1,800 a year

Darcy Repen says data shows Telkwa households are being ripped off for car insurance

Most Read