April Volunteer Profile: Gently Used Book & DVD Sale Lead Team (Allison Minkhorst, Debbie Peters, Amanda Steadman, Pat Wherrett)
There’s an old proverb that goes “It takes a village to raise a child.” To paraphrase that at the Winnipeg Humane Society, one could say, “It takes a team to run a book sale.”
To the public, it may seem like the WHS annual Gently Used Book and DVD sale is simply a weekend event. But examine it more closely and you’ll soon learn how complicated a project it is – taking months of concentrated effort by dozens of volunteers.
Taking charge of it and making sense of it all is a lead team made up of Pat Wherrett, Amanda Steadman, Allison Minkhorst and Debbie Peters. People around the shelter had barely gotten over Paws for the Season, the WHS holiday craft & bake sale, when these four women began implementing their plans for the Gently Used Book and DVD Sale. They start putting out a call for donations, accepting the books and DVDs and sorting them into boxes, and setting up the Joyce Gauthier Centre. And then the clean-up once the sale is done.
The numbers illustrate the size and effort required to pull off the sale this year:
- 60 volunteers
- During the collection period, two shifts per week with three volunteers working three hours (number of volunteers and shift length increases as the sale draws closer)
- 608 hours of volunteer service
- $30,400 raised with a $1,000 being directed to care for Finnegan, one of the dogs that has heartworm
Ask Allison, Amanda, Debbie and Pat why they volunteer with the WHS and the answer is the same – a love of animals. “We can give some financial support,” said Debbie, “but by volunteering you give more. You give of yourself.” An avid reader, she’s been with the sale for more than a decade. She limits her volunteering to WHS special events “because if I did anything else there would be no need for the Humane Society. I’d be taking all the animals home to live with me,” she laughed.
Allison started out in fostering for the WHS in 2006 but now concentrates on special events work. She’s been with the book and DVD sale for six years. “I was looking to help a worthy cause,” she said. “I love animals and doing special events was a lifeline to keep me connected with nice people with similar interests.”
Amanda has been volunteering with the WHS for ‘about 4.5 years,’ and got her start when a friend signed up as a volunteer and got her involved. “Once you start here, you soon learn how much help is needed,” she said. “I’ve always enjoyed the book sale, first as a customer, and now this is my fourth year as a volunteer and second year on the committee.”
Pat’s been a volunteer since 2016. She works on several special events, including the book sale (second year), Paws in Motion, the Bow Wow Ball and more. “I love to get involved and help out with all the good things the Humane Society does for the animals,” she explained. But her main volunteer job currently is caring for the cats at PetSmart on Kenaston Boulevard. She loves all animals, but cats are her favourites “We got our first cat in February of 2013,” she said. “A year later, he was lonely and needed a friend. We now have six.”
Their shared love of reading and desire to help the animals makes them a great fit for organizing the book sale. But ask any of them and you’ll quickly find out there are plenty of thanks to be shared. “It’s remarkable with the space we have how successful we are,” Debbie said. “The employees, especially those with offices in the back, are so tolerant of the mountains of boxes of books scattered about.”
“This team of Amanda, Pat, Debbie & Allison have taken this event to a whole new level in terms of money raised and how it is being organized. We are thrilled for their success and so grateful for their time,” says Kelle Greene, Manager, Volunteer Services.
Pat and Amanda added special thanks to the Gauthier family for the wonderful facility that hosts the sale and so many other events at the shelter every year.
And just in case you think these women are going to rest on their laurels and just enjoy the success of this year’s sale, think again. They’re already talking about ways of making next year’s event – taking place April 4 & 5, 2020 – even bigger and better.
Everyone remember to save those books you’ve just finished reading! The WHS will start collecting donations of books and DVDs on February 24, 2020.
Written by: Brian Kozak, Volunteer MVP Writer
Photo by: Jim Harvey, Volunteer MVP Photographer
A group of volunteers founded the Winnipeg Humane Society in 1894 and are vital to our success today! With the help of volunteers, we can provide care, love and attention to our four (and sometimes two) legged friends until they find their forever homes. The MVP (Monthly Volunteer Profile) will recognize the work and get to know these special MVP’s in a spotlight each month that includes an article and photo shoot. MVPs will receive a framed photo and gift card as our thanks!
Is there a volunteer you’d like to nominate to be MVP? E-mail us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell us why you think they should be an MVP!