200 senior volunteers recognized at annual appreciation lunch
When a pebble is dropped into the ocean, it causes a ripple effect. That is the metaphor Meg Underwood used to describe the effect the work done by the nearly 200 volunteers at the Pilgrim Senior Center has during the annual Volunteer Appreciation Lunch yesterday afternoon. Only about half of the Centerâs volunteers were able to attend the celebration, which many look forward to each year, but the sentiment remained the same.
âIt really goes beyond picking up a phone and scheduling someone to come in and have their taxes done,â said Underwood. âEverything you do truly has a ripple effect, enhancing the life of not just the community here at Pilgrim Senior Center, but the entire community of Warwick.â
Underwood said the Center holds the appreciation lunch every year, but it is not enough to repay the volunteers for the invaluable service they provide.
âWe literally could not open the doors to the Center without all that they do,â said Underwood.
Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian also came out to the event to give his thanks and introduce the afternoonâs speaker, Ward 3 Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson.
âNo matter what agency we talk about in Warwick, they wouldnât get their job done, or get it done the way they do, without all of you [volunteers],â said Avedisian. âIt all adds to the quality of life we have here in Warwick.â
Avedisian said each year the city compiles a report on the number of volunteer hours performed at various agencies, and, using the prevailing wage, a dollar-equivalent to the time given is calculated. The latest result was $3 million in time given to agencies by volunteers.
âWe donât even get $3 million in state aid anymore,â pointed out Avedisian.
Vella-Wilkinson, who Avedisian praised for her consistent volunteer efforts, especially those on behalf of her fellow veterans, praised the group for giving of their time to make an impact.
âA lot of people have access, not a lot have impact,â said Vella-Wilkinson. âThese are people truly having an impact here in Warwick and in other communities.â
The councilwoman recalled the legacy left to her by her grandmother and mother, who always said they were the richest family in the neighborhood because they gave of their time to volunteer throughout the neighborhood in a multitude of ways.
âWe in the city are rich beyond words because of what you do today and every day,â said Vella-Wilkinson.
Following the speeches, a lunch of party pizza, calzones and more was served while singer Jim Porcella provided the afternoonâs entertainment.