Archived Story

Volunteer Center: Help Save a Stray

Published 5:37pm Sunday, October 23, 2011

In cooperation with the Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan, we are pleased to publish opportunities for volunteers each week.
To find out about these or other volunteer opportunities, call 983-0912 in the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor area, 683-5464 in the Niles area; visit or email To arrange an appointment, please call ahead. Appointments do not constitute an obligation to accept a volunteer opportunity.  The center is a United Way agency affiliated with the HandsOn Network.

Spotlight of the week
• Save a Stray is an all-volunteer animal advocacy group committed to the rescue and re-homing of dogs and cats and dedicated to decreasing the pet overpopulation.  You can volunteer to provide a foster home that will provide socialization and identify specific needs to enable the best match for a future human.   It is a great way for a person to decide if there is room in their life for a pet without making a long-term commitment of adoption.


• 4-H Berrien County MSU Extension utilizes volunteers to offer a wide range of personal development experiences for youth ages 5 to 19.  Programming is activity-based, cooperative, fun and experiential. The combined efforts of parents, volunteer leaders, resource personnel and MSU Extension staff provide opportunities to learn, grow and have fun. Days and times vary based on club and project arrangements.  Volunteers should be at least 21 years old and will need to complete an application process that includes a background check, interview and reference check.  Orientation and training will be provided. Go online to or call the Volunteer Center to connect.
• Berrien County Cancer Services provides free, skilled home nursing services, equipment, information and supplies. It needs some to keep its Facebook page up-to-date. In just 15 minutes a day you could help cancer patients.
• Cass County Council on Aging is looking for volunteers to help make seniors’ homes safer.  Do simple repairs and installations such as grab bars, railings, non skid tape and smoke detectors.  Doing weatherization and building wheelchair ramps is also a big need.  If you are Mr. (or Mrs.) Fix-it or have some carpentry experience, your skills are highly sought after.  Licensed electricians or plumbers are also in demand.  Days and times are flexible.
• Drivers are needs for sch organizations as veterans, senior nutrition, senior centers and CARES.    Contact the Volunteer Center to explore which driving opportunity is right for you.
• Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance provides services to people with mental illness. Volunteer as a publishing assistant and help create a booklet to educate people about mental health topics.
• Niles Salvation Army’s Feeding His Sheep Program has packed 786 backpacks stuffed with food for children in 10 area schools.  Helpers are needed. Here’s how: 1. Contact the Salvation Army about helping pack the backpacks once a month or more. 2. Tell friends, family and co-workers about the need for volunteers and food.   3.  Hold a food drive.  It can be as simple as taking one grocery bag and asking a few people to help you fill it.
• United Way of Southwest Michigan has four openings on its investment teams.  Volunteers serve on one of four teams that represent United Way’s Impact areas – education, income, health and basic needs.   Committees meet two or three times a year to make the initial funding recommendations and monitor progress reports from the funded partners to ensure each program is making progress.  It is a great way to learn more about the needs in the community and have a voice in how United Way funding meets those needs.  Volunteers from Niles and Cass County are especially encouraged to apply.
•Give blood through the Berrien County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Nov. 2: River Valley High School Library, 15480 Three Oaks Road, Three Oaks:  8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Nov. 3: Eau Claire High School Gym, 7450 Hochberger Road, Eau Claire:  9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Nov. 4: Coloma High School, Junior High Library, 300 W. Saint Joseph Street, Coloma: 7:45 a.m.  to 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 7: Edwardsburg High School, Old Gym, 69410 Section Street, Edwardsburg: 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For a complete listing, visit

Adults and youth
• Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven is dedicated to the preservation of Michigan Great Lake waterways, maritime history and culture.   The ship “Friends of Good Will” may be docked for the winter, but there are plenty of volunteer opportunities inside.  For example, you can be a docent tour guide and promote and interpret exhibits for visitors.  You should have good communication skills and the ability to work independently.   Your willingness to learn, share and interpret historical and cultural information to the public will be appreciated.  You will be provided with training and have the opportunity to shadow an experienced docent.

• National Family Volunteer Day is from 10 a.m. until noon Nov. 19 at First Church of God in St. Joseph.  The Volunteer Center has invited multiple nonprofits that will have on-site, hands-on volunteer activities for all ages and abilities.  Everything from making cat toys for the animal shelter to creating cards for the troops.
• Holidays are just around the corner, and many organizations It is easy to go through your pantry or pick up a few extra items at the store.  Involve your kids and do a food drive at their school, your house of worship or in your neighborhood. Contact the Volunteer Center for more information on groups needing your donation.

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