Following the resumption of regular activities post-pandemic, numerous local businesses and organizations in Haliburton County are seeking to replenish their volunteer bases.

The Haliburton Legion was the venue for a volunteer engagement fair June 16, with approximately 30 organizations on hand to promote their business and operations. The event was organized by the Haliburton Highlands Volunteerism Coalition.

The Haliburton County Heat Bank, Haliburton Highlands OPP, Canadian Red Cross, and Places for People (P4P) were among the many in attendance. Service clubs such as Haliburton Rotary, the Haliburton Lions Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton were also there.

Fay Martin, vice president of Places for People, said events such as this are vital to remind the community about the importance of volunteering. Martin said the non-profit, which seeks to provide affordable housing options to area residents, has seen a 25 per cent increase in demand for housing after the pandemic. Ramping up its efforts requires additional peoplepower, she added.

Planning is underway for this year’s Highland Yard, taking place in Minden Aug. 6. Martin noted the fundraiser is celebrating its 50th anniversary, with 90 per cent of funds raised helping P4P maintain affordable rents for its 15 tenants and exploring opportunities to increase its portfolio of properties. Rotaract Haliburton Highlands is taking over organizing Highland Yard this year, Martin noted, with volunteers needed. Since 2012, the event has raised more than $140,000 in support of P4P.

Tina Jackson, executive director of the Haliburton County Heat Bank, said they had several volunteer opportunities available. The organization had representatives accepting applications and conducting on-the-spot interviews with anyone interested.

During its 2021-2022 fiscal year, the Heat Bank assisted 266 households by offering, and delivering, free firewood, while completing complementary income tax returns for 45 people.

Volunteers have the opportunity to “make a difference in their community for the people who really need it,” Jackson said.