(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.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

Taser takedown in Chilliwack complex after incident gets violent

Male suspect became agitated under questioning and repeatedly punched an officer

Harrison looks to test viability of solar power

Harrison has applied for a grant to see whether solar power is an option for its village buildings

Agassiz man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Funding uncertain, but Agassiz’s Storytime in the Park will go on, organizer says

The literacy program takes place each summer in Agassiz, Harrison and Seabird Island

VIDEO: Agassiz remembers local officer at grave-marking ceremony

Montague White-Fraser had been buried in the Old Cemetery for 92 years without a headstone

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

UPDATE: One dead after house fire in rural Maple Ridge

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, traffic being re-routed

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

No estimated time for opening

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

Most Read