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Volunteers commit 30,000 hours a year to help seniors

Altruistic seniors in the Baptist Retirement Community Auxiliary are committed to serving their peers by hosting fundraisers, committing hours of volunteer work and physically being there for those who need them. Their efforts go toward life-enriching projects such as upgrading fitness equipment, purchasing wheel-chair accessible buses and buying new maintenance vehicles, to name a few.

The Auxiliary, a volunteer group at Baptist Retirement, was started in 1957 by Elsie Gayer. Each year, members receive awards and recognition for their services. The Auxiliary, made up of more than 250 people, volunteers 26,000 to 30,000 hours each year.

“I’ve been a member of the Auxiliary since 2007 and I felt pleased when they asked if I would like to join their team,” said Quida Jackson, program and arrangements chairman of the Auxiliary. “I do not feel 85 years old, and I believe that those of us who can still do things for other people should certainly be doing them. There are many ways to give back. I like visiting with people that are not as mobile as me and sometimes reading to them.”

Jackson said her favorite projects are helping Freida Slone run the gift shop and assisting with the semi-annual bake sales. Volunteer work at the gift shop involves pricing and arranging merchandise, picking out new items for the store, running the register and talking with customers to get an idea of what items to buy in the future. Jackson and her former husband owned a craft store for 10 years, so she uses her experience at the gift shop.

“In addition to volunteering weekly at the gift shop, I enjoy preparing for the semi-annual bake sales,” Jackson said. “I made 89 half pints of preserves for the last sale. Volunteers donate all kinds of delicious delicacies including cookies, pies, cakes, canned items and of course, preserves. I know of one lady that usually makes 40 Swedish pound cakes. We open the sale at 7 a.m. and we usually sell out a little after noon.”

“We are so fortunate to have the support that we have from the members of the Auxiliary,” said Quinda Feil-Duncan, executive director at Baptist Retirement. “They are a devoted group of residents that have been making a positive impact on the community for 56 years. We appreciate all the time and energy they devote to making the community a better place.”

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