Volunteers are invited to a free community dinner on April 19 at the rec centre. (File photo)

Volunteerism in the spotlight at Salmon Arm community dinner

Free event on April 19 intended to celebrate and empower volunteers

Volunteers are invited to take a bow and a seat at the table during a free community dinner on Thursday, April 19 at the Salmon Arm Recreation Centre.

The dinner is hosted by the community group Plan B:E, with support from the Shuswap Family Resource and Referral Centre and the Shuswap Community Foundation.

Frank Bugala, chair of Plan B:E (people, business, environment), explains volunteerism and its importance to the community is a key focus of the non-profit society that brings together individuals, organizations and businesses to embrace the new economy and help shape the new society from within our own community.

“For Plan B:E, it was an economist from about 130 years ago… Alfred Marshall, who defined economics as basically that, everything humans do to get their needs met,” said Bugala. :So that’s our sort of classic definition and now we’re focused on volunteers on the market side of the economy that really looks at filling in all the gaps that our business and our government doesn’t.

That’s our view of volunteerism. Everything we do for free… comes out of the heart and desire to make your life better and that of your neighbour and family members and so on.”

This will be the second dinner for Plan B:E, an group of community individuals drawn together during the debate around the development of SmartCentres.

“What came up of course was that, hey, wait a second folks, we’re not against business, we’re not against building the economy of this community, but we are in the business of saving what we’ve already got, so we decided we need a new perspective and a new group,” explained Bugala.

During the dinner, participants will be asked to complete a short survey intended to find out how volunteers value their contributions.

“We’re asking them to evaluate themselves – How valuable do you feel your contributions are, financial, community and personal?” said Bugala. “So we’re getting a rough view of how people think of themselves because volunteerism has really been given sort of the last place on the economic table of its importance yet, if you check it out on the Internet, you’ll find out its value is in the billions of dollars to the Canadian economy…

“We’re just in the business now of saying, hey look folks, look around and see that you’re the core of what drives a community’s economics. And begin to empower people to really look around and realize, yeah, we’re it!”

All are welcome to attend the dinner but are encouraged to register at www.plan-be.ca. Menu will include lasagne (meat, vegetarian and special diet) salad, garlic bread, dessert and beverges. Doors open at 5 p.m. and dinner is at 5:30.

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