By Robin E. Kinney
For more than a century, Farm Bureau has harnessed the energy, innovation and passion of volunteers. The members of this amazing group of people are unique and significant. More importantly, they enrich our lives and our organization with their engagement and talents. If you work with volunteers, make sure you thank them often. During National Volunteer Week (April 19-25), it’s appropriate to reflect on how volunteers make a difference and change our world for the better.
Farm Bureau was founded by grassroots volunteers more than a century ago as they gathered in farmyards, living rooms and kitchens and worked together to make life better in rural areas. Today, they continue to work tirelessly to meet needs at the local, state and national level. In fact, it is their unique and extraordinary vision that ensures Farm Bureau remains focused on identifying issues and developing solutions that make the organization the true Voice of Agriculture.
Volunteers make a difference in so many ways. They amaze me and have my sincere appreciation and respect. They are everyday people, citizens walking beside you and me who are doing extraordinary things – giving unconditionally of their time and commitment, and using their talents to enrich the lives of others.
In the face of the historic coronavirus pandemic, these volunteers continue meeting the needs of others in new ways as they repurpose food, sew masks and organize appreciation events while continuing to fulfill roles they volunteered for when life was moving at its “normal” hectic pace.
There is strength in numbers, and in 2,800 county Farm Bureau associations across the country, our volunteers continue to step up and serve.
I have known thousands of volunteers, recruiting many by simply asking them to join us. I’ve worked beside them and watched as they have lent a hand, stepped into leadership roles and extended themselves to others. Yes, YOU – I’m looking at you and saying THANK YOU for all you do! You are the boots on the ground that make an impact in Farm Bureau, your community, county fairs, churches, schools and countless other nonprofits. Your commitment, dedication and passion make this world work.
Along the road these volunteers have become my friends and extended family. When I count my many blessings, my heart fills with gratitude for our grassroots volunteers. I cannot imagine my life or Farm Bureau without them.
Robin E. Kinney is senior director member engagement at the American Farm Bureau Federation.