By: Mary Lynne Stewart, Director of Fund Development and Communications, March of Dimes Canada.
This winter has been a long one. We have all been affected by the ice and the temperature and it has made me admire the brave spirit of our Door-to-Door volunteers as they have gone out despite this cold weather and knocked on the neighbors’ doors. It has been my privilege to meet some of the folks that do this for March of Dimes, and again I am always reminded of why we work for March of Dimes. We have dozens of volunteers who have been doing this for over 20 years. We always try and say thank you but somehow it does not seem enough. Stories of what I call heroes are what we remember at the end of the day. People ask why do we do this in January? The reason is that it goes back to our roots when the organization started, and the bigger story is of what the ‘Marching Mothers’ of the 1950’s did for their children to stop the epidemic of polio. They went door-to-door to collect dimes to stop this horrible disease and I think they were heroes, just as I think our door-to-door volunteers are heroes. It takes courage to knock on your neighbour’s door. I know how I feel when I am sitting down with my family at dinner and someone knocks at the door. You think “Who is at my door and bothering me?” but I always go to the door and give because I think of our volunteers going door to door. My thought is that if I am nice to whoever is at the door, people will be nice to our volunteers.
This is March of Dimes month and we want to celebrate our volunteers by letting them know how much we appreciate what they do. One volunteer who truly embodies the spirit of our Door-to-Door campaign is Joan Hobbs, who has been involved with the Door-to-Door Campaign in Aylmer for an astonishing 57 years! Joan started her volunteer campaign with a group of women in her community. At one point about 20-25 years ago, as each of the ladies passed on, the job of knocking on doors became too much for Joan to handle. Many people would have simply stopped volunteering at that point – but not Joan! Instead, she converted her door-to-door campaign to a mail campaign – and continues to do so. Each year, she personally stuffs and labels more than 3,000 appeal letters! As donations come in, Joan personally hand-delivers receipts to donors. She has raised more than $3,000 every year for the last three years. It’s a fair guess to say that over the last 55 years, Joan has helped to rise over $150,000 for March of Dimes! Joan proves unequivocally that one person can truly make a difference.
So my closing thought is: remember when you look out at the snow and you hear someone knocking at your door, it might be a volunteer from March of Dimes that is there on behalf of Canadians with disabilities. So please open the door and thank them for doing what they do.
If you would like to become a March of Dimes Door-to-Door canvasser or online canvasser and would like more information please click here.