Appreciating volunteers

Published 5:44 am Wednesday, July 18, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
There was a party like none other last Thursday afternoon when the Atmore Senior Act for Individual Living (SAIL) Center director and employees cooked burgers and sausages for the many volunteers that devote countless hours to help keep the organization alive.
Charlotte Purvis, director of the center, said the volunteers do many different things that assist with everyday activities.
"They help serve the meals and some help to serve the home delivery meals in the morning," Purvis said. "They assist in some cleaning areas and some outreach, they call to check on other clients who are sick and are unavailable to be here."
Purvis said the cookout Thursday was to show the volunteers how much they are appreciated for what they do for the SAIL Center.
"The cookout was to say 'Thank you' to the volunteers, it was an appreciation gathering," Purvis said. "We appreciate everything, even if it's a small amount of time or if it's a large amount of time. Everybody here is important, especially volunteers because that's what keeps the center alive. The volunteers make everything work."
The cookout was a lot of fun and the volunteers and their spouses enjoyed it, Purvis said.
"It was a major success," she said. "It was fun and I did not hear the first negative feedback. Everybody relaxed and had a good time. Nancy (Kelly) and Grady (Slay) and I waited on them like it was their special night. This is my way of keeping them active. Only the volunteers got to come to it."
The Atmore SAIL Center is an organization that reaches out to senior citizens in the Atmore area. Members of the SAIL Center enjoy games and also learn about their health through the center.
"We have recreational activities and blood pressure clinics available," Purvis said. "Different organizations, consisting of health care, come once a week. There are games daily, bingo once a week. We do birthday celebrations, picnics and once a month we have a senior outing on our senior vans. We also have special singings. A lot of information and assistance programs come here, which are basically health promotions for the seniors. We are also going to start a grieving support group here. But really it's all about socializing. This is a place for the seniors to come, especially for those that live alone, this is their life, what they look forward to doing everyday. They come here and get involved in our activities."
Purvis said she wishes all seniors would get involved with the SAIL Center activities.
"I encourage new members, age 60 and older, to come and see what we're about," she said. "It's not all about the meal here. I've seen seniors come in sad and leave happy because of the people here. This is a caring and Christian environment."
Any age volunteers to help with the Atmore SAIL Center are welcome, Purvis said.
"I welcome all ages of volunteers, people can just get with me and I'll set it up," she said.
Purvis saved a special thank you for her volunteers.
"Thank you again to all my volunteers," Purvis said. "You are special."
Being a member of the Atmore SAIL Center is free and transportation is provided by the Escambia County Area Transit System.

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