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Volunteers offer 'a little help' to seniors

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Photo by Tamie Meck Hotchkiss High School students Elijah Patrick, left, and Jacob Stucker dismantle a greenhouse frame at the home of a local senior citizen during A Little Help North For Valley's Service Saturday. About 40 volunteers did yard work and o

Last Saturday some 40 volunteers with A Little Help North Fork Valley descended on the homes of senior residents to provide a little help.

ALH is a Denver-based nonprofit that connects neighbors and helps seniors thrive. Held each spring and fall, Service Saturdays provide an opportunity for members to receive assistance with various chores in and around the house. This is the second Service Saturday the local ALH has held in the North Fork Valley, which officially launched last December.

Compared to the first Service Saturday, held last fall, this year's event was about twice as big, said ALH branch team member Randy Campbell. "That's due to a great response from the community."

ALH members can request a long list of services, including transportation to and from doctor's appointments, shipping and running errands; yard work, pet care, light housework, minor repairs, help with computers, or snow shoveling. A call to ALH will bring a vetted volunteer to their door.

ALH volunteers are vetted. The volunteer for the opportunity to connect with residents and help seniors remain in their homes. They're a very dedicated group. On Saturday one wore a cast on his newly-broken foot, and two Denver-based volunteers drove to Paonia to help out.

"The joy of volunteering is connecting with members," said Marjorie True, a retired Hospice nurse and an ALH branch team member. True is also an ALH member. Her daughter Marla and granddaughter Ellia, 14, also volunteered on Saturday. Ellia said her sister was originally going to volunteer, but when she had to back out, "I decided I should do it."

While most of the homes visited were in Paonia, volunteers also worked at homes in Crawford and Hotchkiss. "We want to recruit more members in those areas," said Campbell.

"I always like to help my community," said Nolan Egging, an ALH volunteer from Crawford and junior at Hotchkiss High School. Egging is student government president, a National Honors Society member, a two-sport athlete, lifeguard and water safety instructor at the North Fork Pool. While that sounds like a lot, he says he has lots of time to volunteer.

On Sundays Egging drives an elderly Crawford gentleman to Hotchkiss to attend church. The member doesn't get out of the house much, except on Sundays, said Egging. Sometimes they stop at the grocery store and run errands. The best part, he said, is connecting with seniors, something he said he likely wouldn't do without ALH.

Egging said he's encouraging friends to volunteer, and wants to involve student council in the organization next school year. "You're supposed to get involved right now while you still can help them," he said. "That's going to help you in the future." For him, he said, that's probably going to be the "distant, distant future."

ALH offers a 90-day trial member for $25. Potential members and volunteers can learn more at www.alittlehelp.org, or by calling 527-3482.

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North Fork
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A Little Help, Hotchkiss, Seniors, volunteer
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