Volunteers Make the Village

Maygene Daniels is ready to begin assembling Thanksgiving dinners for delivery to Capitol Hill Village members. Photo: Karen Stuck

A year of dealing with the COVID-19 virus upset many lives and plans—and became a real test for organizations like Capitol Hill Village, which had to devise new ways to operate, stay connected with members, and continue to provide needed services.

One casualty was the Village’s annual dancing and dining, in-person Gala, replaced in 2021 with the On-Line Auction and Virtual Get-Together, opening on April 15 and concluding with a Volunteer Appreciation Event on April 22.

Volunteers are being saluted for their critical contributions over the last year in helping to keep CHV programs going and for leading special initiatives that lessened the impact of the virus on Capitol Hill residents. The numbers tell the story.

Kitz Cleary and Joe Kerr were among volunteers assembling packages of holiday cookies for distribution to Capitol Hill residents. Photo: Karen Stuck

Keeping everyone safe, masks were both made and acquired, and more than 3,500 were delivered to Capitol Hill residents.

For over four months, CHV members got phone calls several times a week from volunteers, checking in with a friendly voice and offering help when needed. That’s more than 6,000 calls, and many of these turned into connections that continue today.

More than 2,000 holiday cookies were made by Capitol Hill neighbors and distributed by 21 volunteers to 300 CHV member households and 60 low-income non-member households.

Thanksgiving dinners were assembled and delivered by 14 volunteers to 50 Capitol Hill homes.

When the COVID vaccine became available, CHV volunteers and staff helped people through the signup process, which involved communicating with more than 1,300 residents and helping more than 400 people navigate the system and get appointments.

When the holidays arrived, and members were without their usual social events, volunteers helped fill the void.  They mailed personalized holiday cards to more than 300 households.  And one affinity group—Purls of Wisdom, composed of volunteers who are knitters—provided 20 members with hand-crafted gifts as a special “thinking of you” during the holidays.

Through hundreds of Zoom calls facilitated by volunteers, the Village’s social and educational programs kept going virtually—book and movie groups, bridge games, chair yoga, poetry readers, lunches and happy hours, caregiver meetups, guest speaker programs, the chorus, and others.

The CHV on-line auction will raise money to help continues these efforts and more.  Auction offerings will include oriental rugs, artwork, collectible items, restaurant gift cards, and more.  Also available will be popular vacation homes from Maine to Rehoboth, with exciting new additions such as a Virgin Islands paradise and a secluded Shenandoah Valley mountaintop aerie.  Salon dinners will be both Zoom and COVID rules-abiding live “soirees.”  Already lined up are journalist Susan Page discussing her forthcoming biography of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a trifecta of separate wine, beer and bourbon tastings, meal preparation with a noted food critic, and several outdoor adventures.  More information is available at www.capitolhillvillage.org

Karen Stuck is editor of the Capitol Hill Village newsletter. Information about CHV is available at 202-543-1778 or www.capitolhillvillage.org.