The Garden City Telegram
12/21/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Nice assist

Kansans make a statement on value of volunteerism.

Kansans devote a lot of time to helping others.

When it comes to volunteerism, the Sunflower State ranked fourth overall nationwide, according to a study by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency that strives to improve lives, strengthen communities and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.

The CNCS recently reported nearly 37 percent of Kansans volunteered in 2012. The annual report showed some 808,000 volunteers gave 82.9 million hours of service in Kansas, with the value of the volunteer work estimated at a whopping $1.59 billion.

Nationwide, roughly one in four adults volunteered during the same time.

With Kansas becoming the brunt of jokes over the years due to clashes over teaching evolution and other negative publicity, national recognition of Kansans' kindness is all the more welcome.

Consider the holiday season an ideal time to celebrate the support from people who still find time to help others in today's busy world.

Many groups and organizations depend on such assists. Imagine, for example, the American Red Cross working to meet an ongoing demand for blood without volunteer donors willing to help year-round.

And, what if we didn't have an army of helpers delivering Meals on Wheels to the elderly and other homebound residents?

Some of the best local events also depend on volunteers. The Tumbleweed Festival, Garden City Community College Endowment Auction and Wild Affair fundraiser for Lee Richardson Zoo are among many volunteer-driven events that improve local quality of life.

Countless other volunteer efforts benefit hospitals, churches and schools.

While the list could go on and on, it's also worth noting that organizers of fundraisers, events and other endeavors often find themselves short on assistance. More good volunteers always are needed.

Volunteerism has a way of boosting personal morale and community pride. Such generosity, thankfully, hasn't gone out of style in a state where helping others comes second nature to many.

Thanks to those who lend a hand — or plan to do so in the future — for making Finney County and the rest of Kansas a better place to live.