For potential volunteers looking for a bigger challenge, the Salvation Army also needs data-entry clerks, but previous computer experience is required.
Victoria T. McDonald, volunteer coordinator at the Salvation Army in West Chester, said the receptionist hours cannot be changed, but anyone interested in volunteering for the data entry post can set their own schedule.
"We're kind of a small group. It's important for volunteers to have a good sense of humor, good public relations skills, and be a team player," McDonald said. "It's also important to get people who can handle the different situations with a professional demeanor."
McDonald said the army in West Chester has about 150 volunteers, a number that swells to more than 1,500 during the holiday season, when they are busy collecting and sorting food and toys for needy families.
And that doesn't end when the holidays are over.
McDonald said that each week, the West Chester branch gives away 1 1/2 tons of donated food to people in need.
Since its official opening in 1897, the West Chester Corps of the Salvation Army has worked to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the community without discrimination.
McDonald said the corps supports people with food, clothing, prescriptions, rent, furniture, utilities and housing until they are back on their feet.
"I think our primary focus is to help people over the hump," McDonald said. "There are individuals living right on the cusp, with no pension, or having to choose between food or prescriptions - they are always so thankful."
The army's approach focuses on what is required to make these individuals self-sufficient, McDonald said. To do this, it stresses education, initiative and personal development to help clients learn problem-solving and self-reliance skills.
Dulin said watching people get back on their feet has been rewarding. She said it is also nice to volunteer with an organization where "everyone is trying to do the right thing."
"I think people [volunteers] come here and stay because you feel like the time you are spending is so useful," Dulin said. "I think that's reflected in the organization."
For More Information
Call Victoria T. McDonald, volunteer coordinator, at 610-696-8746, Ext. 203.
Kelly Wolfe's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.