Volunteerism drives community

Ask not what your community can do for you

While money makes the world go ‘round, it is volunteers who make communities stronger.

Daffodil Month in Smithers wrapped up on Sunday with the annual Daffodil Dash, a cancer fundraiser that has been gaining popularity in town since it replaced the Relay for Life in 2015.

The money raised, in excess of $25,000 a year, goes to cancer research, prevention and support for people living with the disease. Those funds do the important work, but it is the people who sell the daffodils, who knock on doors, who shave their heads, who conduct the bottle drives, who barbecue the burgers, who provide the entertainment, and so on, who make the funds available.

The Dash, of course, is not the only effort made locally in the battle against cancer. Just last month, Harmony Taekwon-do put on a “Kicking Cancer’s Butt” event. The Cops for Cancer bike ride passes through the town in the fall each year. In November, men grow their facial hair in support of prostate cancer research.

The Canadian Cancer Society has approximately 1,200 paid staff across the country to administer all the programs, but it is the more than 140,000 local volunteers in communities large and small, who keep those people busy.

And it’s not just cancer, of course. Coming up in June is the “Gutsy Walk” for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Throughout the year, myriad diseases are addressed with special events and ongoing campaigns. There are literally too many to list them all in this editorial space.

Churches, service organizations, sports clubs, cultural entities, etc., etc., all depend on people stepping up and donating their time, expertise, energy and talent.

Every aspect of the quality of life in a community is touched by volunteerism.

The ski hill and second sheet of ice, originally built by the volunteers. Midsummer Festival. Volunteers. New library and art gallery. Volunteers. Exhibition, concert association, chamber of commerce, it goes on and on.

Yes, much of the necessary cash for these amenities come from governments and philanthropists, but they are made possible by the sweat of volunteers.

John F. Kennedy famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

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