Not that we need a reason to celebrate our amazing volunteers and foster families, but this week marks National Volunteer Appreciation Week!

Although ARL’s celebrations for the 800-plus volunteers will once again be virtual, it continues to be an honor to acknowledge those who make incredible contributions to help fulfill ARL’s mission.

The week will be broken up into several virtual events, highlighted by a kick-off celebration with ARL’s Boston, Dedham and Brewster volunteers, and of course ARL’s annual volunteer awards night.

A number of awards will be handed out to those who went above and beyond to help animals in need over the past year, and the ceremony, virtual or not, is an annual favorite for ARL volunteers and staff alike.

Volunteers are mission critical for ARL, whether serving as ambassadors for the organization, working with behaviorally-challenged animals, comforting a frightened cat or dog, changing litter boxes, or performing a myriad of other tasks – volunteers achieve countless selfless acts of kindness every day and ARL is grateful.

Compassion Cannot be Quarantined

The Covid-19 pandemic impacted day-to-day operations for ARL, which of course affected our volunteers.

Per safety protocols, just six volunteers were assigned to each shift during the past year, however, many volunteers who couldn’t come into the buildings decided to serve in another way – as foster parents.

When ARL suspended adoption services in March 2020, nearly 200 animals were placed into temporary foster care. Additionally, ARL began two Covid-19-related programs, both of which have fostering components.

So many volunteers graciously opened up their hearts and homes to these animals when they needed it most and ARL could not be more thankful.

Despite restrictions, ARL volunteers donated more than 63,000 hours of service – a 66 percent increase from 2019! This also is the equivalent to 30 full-time staff!

“I’m always proud of the incredible accomplishments of our volunteers, but 2020 offered such unprecedented circumstances and once again ARL volunteers, which of course includes our amazing foster families, stepped up and went above and beyond anything I could’ve imagined,” said Debby Chaplic, ARL Associate Director of Volunteer Engagement. “ARL’s volunteers are a shining light and true champions for animals in need.”

Stay tuned to see who our award winners are!

Why Volunteer?

First and foremost, nonprofit organizations like ARL simply could not have such a wide reach to help animals in need without volunteers. Volunteers are integral members of the ARL family.

But volunteering has benefits beyond caring and participating in such a worthwhile cause.

About 63 million people, or 25% of the U.S. population, donate their time and talents to worthy causes.

In addition to making a difference in the community, volunteering has been shown to improve a person’s health by increasing physical activity, enhancing your mood and decreasing stress.

Another bonus?  The majority of hiring managers nationally see volunteerism as an asset in candidates seeking employment.

Thank You

ARL is grateful to each and every volunteer who helps ARL fulfill its mission to be a Champion for Animals – we are all in this together and we cannot do it without you!

If you are interested in volunteering at ARL, please click here for more information and THANK YOU!