PISCATAWAY, NJ – Piscataway residents looking for ways to give back to the community gathered at the Kennedy Library on Saturday to learn more about various service organizations where they might be able to partner with, and volunteer their time.
This is the second year the Kennedy Library has hosted the Volunteer Fair in its main meeting room, drawing more participation from both the organizations and from attendees looking to help out.
“I think there are more potential volunteers attending this year than last year,” observed Mary Piekarski, Supervisor of Adult Services at the Kennedy Library and organizer of the fair.
She hopes that over time the fair will grow “so I’d like to have it every year.”
About 20 groups displayed photos and brochures about what they do to serve the community, and volunteers spoke about their involvement in an effort to try to recruit new volunteers.
Piekarski, who volunteers her time with different organizations, was motivated to organize the fair to bring together the groups with the potential volunteers who may not know where to begin in looking for where they could donate their time.
While many of the attendees were parents and their children, some were retirees or empty nesters looking for ways to continue to help those in need.
“There are a lot of people who used to volunteer with the Girl Scouts or the school, but they don’t have to do that anymore because their kids [have grown up],” said Piekarski, herself an empty nester.
“So they might want to volunteer but they don’t know where. So I thought if I were one of those people, having a fair like this with a variety of organizations, hopefully they’ll find one cause they would want to embrace.”
Attendees had the opportunity to talk with organizations that addressed such issues as animal welfare and domestic violence, as well as the New Jersey Blood Services, Friends of the Piscataway Public Library, Rotary International, Kiwanis International, Piscataway’s Relay for Life program, the Metlar-Bodine House, and the NAACP.
There were also representatives from the Jewish Family Services, the FISH Hospitality Program, Literacy New Jersey, and several hospice and senior services groups and societies.
The volunteer fair gave organizations a chance to discuss what they do in the community, while approaching residents about donating their time to the causes.
When asked about the turnout, “for a beautiful Saturday afternoon I’m very pleased,” said Piekarski.