Weekly Feature

2014-04-03 / Local News

Volunteer makes helping others a rewarding career


Keane Keane The month of April recognizes volunteers for their contributions to their community and their dedication to helping others.

Jolynn Keane, who was recently appointed as the volunteer relations associate for Meals on Wheels for Western New York, has made volunteering her career.

“My nature is to help people,” said Keane, who is a resident of West Seneca. “I’ve always been like that, volunteering and helping those in need.”

In her new role, she focuses on volunteer recruitment and retention of more than 1,500 volunteers who prepare and deliver meals to homebound seniors and disabled individuals in Erie County.

“We’re always looking for volunteers to help serve, deliver meals, and also we’re currently looking for volunteers to staff the front desk,” Keane explained.

In addition to the hands-on volunteers the organization seeks year-round, she said volunteers are also needed to help arrange fundraisers and events.

To get involved, there is an application process and some minimal requirements, depending on the work the volunteer wishes to fulfill. Keane assures that these requirements are only abstract and that anyone who wants to help out will be placed with the organization.

“I’m always looking for people with a warm heart who are looking to help others,” she said.

For her, the best part of her volunteer career is when she can pass along a volunteer to a work site who is a good fit and everything works out for the volunteer, the resident and the organization.

“When it works out wonderfully and they’re totally enjoying their experience, it’s great for everyone involved,” Keane said.

She said that when volunteers work with the organization’s clients, they develop a sense of purpose for themselves.

“The interaction [volunteers] get with their clients, they feel like they become part of the family. It’s more than just delivering a meal for them,” she said.

Keane previously worked with the Town of West Seneca as the volunteer coordinator of its Youth Engaged in Service program.

(Story ideas for this feature can be sent to West Seneca Bee Editor Eric DeGrechie, Bee Publications, 5564 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14221 or call 204-4922.)

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