Program rewards volunteers’ workThe Thanks for Caring program gives volunteers discounts and special promotions for their work in the community, said Deb Lee, project coordinator. Each volunteer who works at least 12 hours a month and turns in his or her time sheet receives a monthly punch card to use at more than 50 different businesses in the Jamestown, said Melissa Goodrich, assistant project coordinator.
By: Katie Ryan, The Jamestown Sun
The Thanks for Caring program gives volunteers discounts and special promotions for their work in the community, said Deb Lee, project coordinator.
Each volunteer who works at least 12 hours a month and turns in his or her time sheet receives a monthly punch card to use at more than 50 different businesses in the Jamestown, said Melissa Goodrich, assistant project coordinator.
Most of the discounts include 10 to 20 percent off at restaurants, pharmacies, retail stores and auto body shops. Nearly every business that was asked to participate agreed, said Howard Dewes, president and founder of Thanks for Caring. Some even volunteered without being asked.
The program serves two purposes, Dewes said, to attract and retain volunteers as well as increase patronage to local businesses.
“We simply needed a way to bring those people (volunteers) in and keep them,” he said.
To attract and retain volunteers, the community has to show appreciation, Lee said.
“How many times can you say thank you?” she said.
So far, the program has about 60 volunteers and most of them are 55 years old or older, Lee said. But people of all ages volunteer or could volunteer, she said.
“We’re a humble community. I don’t think the people talk about the things. … I mean, they just do them,” she said, saying many people volunteer at their church, school or charitable organization without labeling it volunteering.
Kristi Janzen, owner of Meeting Grounds coffee shop, said she’s participated in the Thanks for Caring program for a few months. Her business got involved because she wanted to give Jamestown area residents an incentive to volunteer. In turn, she’s also seen more business at the coffee shop. The program is a good way to advertise, she said.
Diane Mittleider, general manager of Hardee’s in Jamestown, agreed.
Since Hardee’s joined the program about two years ago, new customers have visited the restaurant and regular customers try new menu items. In addition to helping her business, the program motivates people to do community service and rewards the ones who already do, Mittleider said.
“It seems like a me-world out there,” she said, saying the program increases community outreach.
So far, Mittleider said most of the people she sees use the card are older than 40 and she’d like to see more school- and college-age people involved.
“I would like to see more of the younger ones do that,” she said.
Senior citizens not only have time, but they also have skills to give back to the community, Dewes said. Young people have skills too, he said, they just might not realize it.
Volunteers of all skill levels are needed, at various locations like the Jamestown Public Schools, area libraries, nursing homes and hospitals, he said.
For more information or to get involved, contact Lee at 252-2882. The program costs nothing to either business or volunteers and there is no formal enrollment process, Lee said.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454
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