April is National Volunteer Month. We are so blessed to have many, many volunteers at Lakeview Village that help make our community great. Two community hotspots that require huge volunteer efforts are the resident-run library and the What-Not-Shop.
The What-Not-Shop began, at a resident’s request, in 1970. The idea came from a retirement community in California who had a similar operation selling donated items residents no longer wanted or needed. In 1990, the shop moved to its current location in the lower level of Heritage Place complete with shelving, clothing racks and storage space to store items for future sale.
The WNS volunteer force is nearly 100 strong today, and includes a group that packs donations from apartments, a group that is responsible for furniture, a group that primarily focuses on the biannual boutique sale and a group that runs the store in Heritage Place. Within these ranks there is also a treasurer, a volunteer coordinator and many other captains that take the helm on various projects related to the operation of the What-Not-Shop.
“I worked at the Jones store with two other ladies, and we always joked that we were going to move to Lakeview Village and run the What-Not-Shop,” said Phyllis Keithley, a long-time What-Not-Shop volunteer who has served in numerous capacities through the years.
Doris Kalmbach is also a long-time volunteer at the What-Not-Shop. She is currently a coordinator, whose duties include opening the shop, getting money for the cashiers, emptying the after-hours box in the corridor, and assisting the cashier and sacker as needed.
“It keeps me busy,” Doris said. “I meet a lot of nice people.”
“The What-Not-Shop is a huge value to Lakeview Village,” Phyllis said. “People come down to shop and talk to each other, it has a real community feel.”
Ann Westfall agreed, adding, “all the money we earn goes to make purchases for Lakeview Village.”
The entire volunteer force votes on how to spend the money the What-Not-Shop earns.
Carolyn Englund helps sell furniture for the What-Not-Shop in the lower level of Eastside Terrace.
“My husband dies and Phyllis Keithley asked if I was interested in volunteering,” Carolyn said.
“You meet interesting people down here,” she said. “Most of the people who come found out about the What-Not-Shop because they had friends or family members in [short-stay] rehab or know residents.”
Carolyn thinks the What-Not-Shop is a worthwhile volunteer job for many of the volunteers because they play a part in raising money for improvements to the community.
Jery Nunn has been volunteering as a cashier in the What-Not-Shop for several months.
“It’s very organized,” Jery said. “I always get a good feeling about volunteering for a worthy cause.”
Jery also recommends the What-Not-Shop for new residents, because it is a good opportunity to meet people.
The resident-run library began at Lakeview Village in 1993. In addition to purchasing books for residents to borrow, the library board selects and subscribes to several newspapers and magazines for residents to enjoy in the library.
JoAnn Brown, a retired reading teacher, has volunteered with the library for four years.
“I like to read, and I like books, so I’d like to see the library prosper,” she said.
Funds for the library come from a semiannual book sale and donations to the library fund managed by the Lakeview Village Foundation. The library purchases large-print books, while regular print books are mostly donated.
The library technology is very up-to-date. The group pays for software to keep track of books that are checked out and returned and to manage the catalog. Volunteers work two-hour shifts and may re-shelve books, check books in and out and making sure books are in the proper place on the shelves.
Nan Buhr also volunteers in the library.
“I just like books, reading and I thought this would be fun,” Nan said.
Residents come in and read the paper, browse and check out books, Nan said of the value the library adds to Lakeview Village as a place for residents to gather.
Doris Thrane, a library volunteer for a year and a half, agrees.
“I think it [the library] is great for people who can’t get out much. Not everyone has access to a car or family to take them places,” Doris said. “A resident came in a checked out three books. She said they would keep her busy for the weekend.”
Doris said she volunteers because she always has, and enjoys volunteering in the library, because it is something she can do well, despite having bad knees.