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Vital Volunteers

Lending a hand where it’s needed most

An unexpected surgery or an accident can throw your world off balance and suddenly make life difficult. This is the situation for many of the Lending Cupboard’s clients but, even when things may seem overwhelming, volunteers are there to help people get back on track.Lynn Kondziolka

“Everything our volunteers do impacts the community,” says Audrey Carr, volunteer coordinator. “We rely heavily on volunteers for everything from helping clients find the equipment they need to keeping items clean and in good repair to doing office admin work. We’re definitely a volunteer driven organization.”

For volunteers like Lynn Kondziolka, who has been with the Lending Cupboard since August, her time there is time well spent. “I first heard of it when a friend of mine received equipment,” she explains. “Then, when my husband passed away last June, I knew that I needed to get out, and I thought volunteering would be the right choice.”

“I’m so glad that I mustered the strength to go over,” she says. “It was a Friday afternoon, and I met the lovely Audrey and told her I was interested in volunteering, and I was welcomed with open arms. These are just wonderful folks who have become like a second family to me.”

Kondziolka spent her career working as a medical secretary, so the Lending Cupboard seemed a perfect fit. “I’ve learned so much!” she says. “I worked all my life in the medical field, but not in orthopedics, so this has been a great area to learn about.” She volunteers on the floor by helping clients to fill their medical equipment orders. “Patients will come in with a list of equipment that they need, and I help them to fill the order and complete the inventory form.”

The front-of-house volunteer work like what Kondziolka does is one of the major areas where volunteers work at the Lending Cupboard every day. Other key roles include the cleaning area, where volunteers take the equipment apart and scrub it from top to bottom. “Our volunteers are so amazing and dedicated that they even get down on their hands and knees to scrub the wheels!” Carr explains. “Then they put things through our sterilizer machine and reassemble everything afterwards.” Volunteers in the repair department check all the equipment thoroughly, ensuring that it’s in good working order to loan out.

Other volunteers do administrative work, such as phoning clients to see if they still have and need the equipment they borrowed. Volunteers also do bookkeeping and database entry tasks. “Another area we use volunteers is for our deliveries,” says Carr. “We take items out to clients or pick up items from different areas around town when needed.” She also notes that the Lending Cupboard’s Board members are a vital group of volunteers. “All of our Board members volunteer their time to make sure the organization is running as it should.”

Carr appreciates the chance to see so many people, all working together for a common goal. “I feel fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing group of people who completely believe in and are devoted to this organization,” she says. “They never cease to amaze and inspire me every day with their levels of commitment and dedication. They volunteer but treat it as if they were paid employees.”

When it comes to spending time at the Lending Cupboard Kondziolka loves the opportunity to connect with other volunteers and with clients. “The clients are super, and it’s so rewarding to be able to do little things to help make life easier for them,” she says. “We’re all doing this to help people, and I’ve found it’s amazing how much it’s helped me too.”