Well, you’ve finally made it to retirement, or are at least looking at it right over the horizon. Even better, you’re living near the beach, in a region with so many year-round activities, including a variety of ways to make life better for others. Cape Gazette’s 55+ Supplement offers a guide to dozens of volunteer opportunities, and we’ve spotlighted a few of the most popular right here.
Village Volunteers support independent living for seniors.
As a Village Volunteer, Lewes resident Diana Beebe drives seniors to appointments, helps them shop and offers companionship to those who tend to be stuck at home. And although she’s become accustomed to compliments about her good-hearted nature, she’ll be the first person to tell you she’s actually having a great time.
“They’re so grateful, which makes it so rewarding,” she says. “And many are real characters who’ve had very interesting lives.”
As an example, she describes fascinating conversations with “a gentlemen who had a stroke who spends a lot of time by himself since his wife is still working. He tells the most entertaining stories – they’d be such great fodder for books.”
There’s also the client she recently picked up from a doctor appointment in Millsboro. “She just hates driving on Route 1 – says it scares her. So she told me this whole new way to get to Angola, all on the back roads. Something I never could have figured out on my own.”
All in all, she adds, the experiences tend to be as wonderful for the volunteers as for members, who know they’re meeting a tremendous need in the Cape Region given the rapid population growth among folks 65 and over. Between 2010 and 2019, the number of seniors in Sussex County went from 14.4 percent to 19.4 percent, and volunteers for the Village see ample evidence of continued growth in the population.
“A lot of people move here when they retire because the taxes are low and because there are so many lovely communities,” Beebe says. “We also have supportive services like Osher (a lifelong learning organization in Lewes) that people enjoy. Many people are still living independently even though they need some help from time to time.”
Indeed, the organization has become immeasurably popular among seniors who love their homes and want to forestall transitioning to designated senior housing or nursing homes because they know they’ll always be able to have groceries and other items delivered along with help with minor home and yard maintenance.
Thanks to its merger with South Coastal Village Volunteers, the organization also has tremendous reach, serving hundreds of seniors throughout the Cape Region, from Milton to the north and Millville to the south. Given the need, Diana Beebe and others at the Village enthusiastically encourage others to become part of the team. Learn more at www.villagevolunteer.org.
This is just one of the organizations serving seniors. Go to the guide to learn about the Cape Henlopen Senior Center, CHEER, Delaware Hospice, the Delaware Senior Medical Patrol, the Delaware Veterans Home, ITN Southern Delaware and the Nanticoke Senior Center.
Love animals? You’re in the right place!
If you like people . . . but love dogs and cats maybe just as much, you can also have some good times volunteering with the Delaware Humane Association at the Rehoboth Beach adoption Center. Like many organizations of its kind, it enables individuals and families to welcome these furry friends into their homes. It also sets a high standard of care for the animals, which are readied for adoption with veterinary exams, vaccinations, and spaying and neutering. Equally important, the organization takes great care to match the right people with the right pets.
DHA Rehoboth is always seeking volunteers who support its mission, Making Friends for Life, and who will help with care of the animals, adoptions, transport on the “Tailroad Express” and fostering. The organization needs people seven days a week, and offers flexible scheduling and a lot of opportunities as long as volunteers can commit to eight hours each month for six months. Learn the details at www.delawarehumane.org/about-us/Rehoboth
If you’re looking for other opportunities, check out the online guide for details on the Brandywine Valley SPCA, which is recruiting volunteers for training at its Georgetown center, and the Sonshine Equestrian Center, which offers therapeutic activities with horses.
Feed those in need.
Whether you’ve spent years in the Cape Region or have recently arrived, you know it’s become a great place for enjoying fresh food from local farms, the ocean and bay. There’s also a tremendous need to ensure folks from all walks of life have the same opportunities to eat healthy meals.
If you want to help economically disadvantaged individuals and families you can do great stuff with the Cape Henlopen Food Basket. It’s an all-volunteer organization of folks who order and pick up food, stock shelves at the pantry and serve clients. You can learn about volunteer opportunities at 302 227 3528
Another way to support seniors and others who are facing financial or mobility challenges is to volunteer with Meals on Wheels, which serves more than 300 clients throughout southern Delaware. If you join this team you can deliver meals, lend your talents to special events, and make financial contributions that enable this organization to do its important work. To learn more, email email@example.com with your contact information.
If you live closer to the northern end of Sussex County, check out the Food Bank of Delaware, located in Milford at www.fbd.org.
Remember – these are just a few of the organizations looking for volunteer help. Whether you love helping kids, supporting seniors dealing with medical conditions, protecting the environment or contributing to the region’s arts and culture, our online guide offers an easy-to-follow road map to your next great opportunity.