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Lethbridge charities see decline in number of volunteers

Volunteers help out at the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen. Volunteers help out at the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen.

Some Lethbridge charities are having a hard time staffing volunteers, saying the number of people willing to donate their time to non-profits over the years has decreased.  

Bill Ginther, executive director of the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen, says there are days when volunteers opt out at the last minute.

"Which really is difficult for us," he said. "But it happens with groups that scheduled (their shift) a long time ago."

The Lethbridge Soup Kitchen is not the only organization having trouble recruiting volunteers; the Lethbridge Food Bank is also struggling.

"I think a lot of our volunteers (are) retirees, people who have recently found a lot of time to come in, but those retirees aren't coming in as fast," said executive director Mac Nicol.

Jaci Zalesak from the United Way of Lethbridge and South Western Alberta says she thinks the cost of living is having an impact on their number of volunteers.

Amanda Jensen, executive director of Volunteer Lethbridge, says they're working to attract new volunteers to help with the shortfalls.

"I don't see this changing any time soon," she said. "I don't think it's anything to be overcome. I think this is an adaptation, a societal adaptation that we're in the midst of right now, and we have to pay attention to."

Despite the decrease in volunteers across Lethbridge, there are many who continue to help.

"I love it here," said Charlie Nordquist, a volunteer at the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen.

"I’m here one Monday a month, and I just love the interaction with the people."

According to Volunteer Lethbridge, just over half of Lethbridge residents volunteered last year donating just over 90 hours of their time on average. Top Stories

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