Volunteer Warren Matthwig

Warren Matthwig, a volunteer for McLeod Emergency Food Shelf, unloads food rescue from Coborns in Glencoe this past year.

It’s National Volunteer Week April 18-24, a time for communities and organizations around the country to show their appreciation for volunteers.

This year’s theme, “The Value of One, The Power of Many,” reflects on our strengths as individuals, and what is truly possible when we apply those strengths together toward a common goal.

Like so many things, volunteerism has been different this past year. People have had to find ways to serve each other while keeping the public’s health in mind during the COVID-19 pandemic. But as always, through ingenuity and determination, people have found a way.

The Hutchinson Leadership Institute took on several smaller jobs this year, rather than the large capstone projects to which it’s accustomed. The group broke up into several small groups to tackle items such as fixing up the historic Episcopal Church, and making improvements to McLeod County Veterans Memorial Park.

While some have managed to thrive during the pandemic, many have needed help to keep food on their tables. All throughout the pandemic, groups such as the McLeod Emergency Food Shelf and others have found ways to reach members of the public in need. They’ve done it through free food distributions, with their new mobile outreach bus, or through their traditional locations in Hutchinson and Glencoe. No matter what was happening, volunteers were needed to put groceries in people’s vehicles, stock shelves, or help folks with shopping at mobile stops.

Volunteering and leadership have also been common themes in Boy Scouts, especially for those working toward their Eagle Scout rank. The Hutchinson area saw many Boy Scouts pitch in time and effort with projects serving their communities, such as cleaning up local lakes, constructing flag poles and renovating garden paths for local gardening clubs.

We at the Leader want to take this time to thank everyone who has volunteered in one way or another to make this community a wonderful place to live and work. Hutchinson would not be the city it is without this tremendous legacy of giving back to others.

And if you are looking for ways to do more volunteering this year, there are countless worthy causes and charitable associations to which you may contribute. Here’s a list of just a few of those organizations:

FOR HISTORIANS: McLeod County Historical Society and Museum, 320-587-2109, and Historic Hutchinson, 320-587-7278.

FOR VETERANS: McLeod County Veteran Services, 320-864-1268; Disabled American Veterans Chapter 37 and auxiliary, 320-587-1000; Hutchinson VFW Post 906 and auxiliary, 320-587-9929; Hutchinson Legion Post 96 and auxiliary, hutchlegion.org and Saluting Community Heroes at salutingcommunityheroes.com.

FOR READERS: Hutchinson Public Library, 320-587-2368; and Friends of the Library, Joyce Beytien, president, 320-587-2686.

FOR SENIORS: Hutchinson Nutrition Programs at Evergreen Apartments, 320-587-6029, and Park Towers, 320-587-2559; other Senior Nutrition sites in McLeod County: Brownton, 320-328-4181; Glencoe, 320-864-5728; Silver Lake, 866-974-0289; Stewart, 320-562-2730; and Winsted, 866-974-0289; Hutchinson Senior Center, 320-234-5656; Harmony River Living Center, 320-484-6000; Ecumen Oaks and Pines, 320-484-9150; Prince of Peace Retirement Living, 320-234-7588; Woodstone Senior Living Community, 320-234-8917; and Trailblazer Transit, 888-743-3828..

FOR ANIMAL LOVERS: Heart of Minnesota Animal Shelter, heartofminnesota.org, 320-234-9699.

FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Hutchinson Adaptive Recreation, 320-234-5656; Equul Access, 320-234-7895; and Aveyron Homes, 320-587-6277.

FOR ART LOVERS: The Hutchinson Center for the Arts is the hub for local arts organizations, 320-587-7278 or hutchinsonarts.org.

FOR MUSIC LOVERS: Hutchinson Concert Association, hutchinsonconcert.weebly.com, and ISD 423 Foundation, Jason Werowinski, chairman, 320-296-6383. 

FOR EDUCATION LOVERS: ISD 423 Foundation, Jason Werowinski, chairman, 320-296-6383; the Ridgewater College Foundation, Kelly Magnuson, vice president of advancement and outreach/executive director of foundation, 320-222-6094; and Dollars for Scholars, Steve Kropp, president, 320-234-7051.

FOR COMMUNITY ENTHUSIASTS: Hutchinson Area Community Foundation, hutchinsonareacommunityfoundation.org or 320-587-8007; Hutchinson Health Foundation, Rachael Gemuenden, executive director, 320-484-4443; Southwest Initiative Foundation, Liz Cheney, vice president of philanthropy, 320-484-9101; and United Way of McLeod County, unitedwaymcleodcounty.org/give.

FOR BELIEVERS: Common Cup Ministry, 320-587-2213; local churches support a variety of outreach and mission activities. See Wednesday's Leader for a list of local churches. 

FOR THE CIVIC-MINDED: Hutchinson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, 320-587-5252; and the Hutchinson Downtown Association, 320-234-5652 or email mnewcomb@ci.hutchinson.mn.us.

FOR THE SOCIAL-MINDED: McLeod Alliance, 320-234-7933; Crow River Habitat for Humanity, 320-587-8868; McLeod Emergency Food Shelf, 320-587-4796; and Hunger Free McLeod, hungerfreemcleod.org.

FOR OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS: More than 22,000 volunteers help to preserve and enhance Minnesota's natural beauty for the enjoyment of people of all ages, interests and abilities. For more information, visitdnr.state.mn.us/volunteering/index.html

FOR LEADERS AND FUTURE LEADERS: Hutchinson Leadership Institute and Leadership 2.0, call Mary Hodson, Chamber president, at 320-234-0785, and the McLeod for Tomorrow Leadership Program, email Sharon Hoese, program director, at mft501c3@gmail.com.