SARATOGS SPRINGS – The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and Capital Region United Way have partnered to help connect community members looking to volunteer with organizations that need volunteers.
“Coming out of the pandemic, we heard a resounding desire from the community about how to get involved and help support our local non-profit community,” said Maddie Gionet, the vice president of integrated marketing communications for the chamber.
To meet that need the two organizations will be hosting an inaugural Pitch-In event from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday at Putnam Place. During the event community members will be able to chat with six non-profit organizations in the county for the first hour of the event and then each organization will have five minutes to pitch their volunteer project to attendees. The goal is that attendees will sign up with one of the nonprofits at the end of the event.
One of the organizations participating is Shelters of Saratoga.
Shelter Director of Development Rosemary Royce said the chamber reached out to them about participating in the event. The agency just opened its Code Blue shelter for the season. There are approximately 80 volunteers that help at the shelter each season alongside staff members, Royce said. She said the organization needs around 30 more volunteers this year.
“We thought this would be a great opportunity for us to showcase what we accomplish at the shelter, which is to try and move people into housing,” she said.
Beyond aiding organization staff, volunteers also help provide meals to those using the Code Blue shelter.
The Saratoga County Department of Aging and Youth Services will also be at the event as one of the participating organizations.
“The department has volunteers who help with their senior nutrition program by delivering meals to homebound seniors as well as through the AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP program, which pairs seniors age 55 and older with volunteer opportunities,” said Christine Rush, the county’s director of public relations.
The other participating organizations include Caffe Lena, CAPTAIN Community Human Services, Homes for Orphaned Pets Exist and the Roundabout Runners Club.
“CAPTAIN Community Human Services is excited to participate in the Saratoga Chamber’s Pitch-In event,” said Fern Hurley, the associate executive director for CAPTAIN in a press release about the event. “We are looking forward to sharing our mission of ‘Lifting People Up, Building Brighter Futures’ with the Chamber community.”
Hurley said the nonprofit wants to find people who are interested in addressing issues like homelessness and hunger in the community.
Caffe Lena Marketing Manager Carolyn Shapiro said the event is a great way to remind people that Caffe Lena is a nonprofit in the community, connect with supporters and share what they do.
“I plan to talk about our programming, our general mission, a brief history of our venue and the importance of volunteers in making what we do possible,” she said.
She also said the organization is lucky to have many regular volunteers, but they could use more.
“Many of them have been volunteering for years and help make Caffe Lena a really wonderful community to be a part of,” she said. “Due to the pandemic, however, we have lost a number of volunteers who are no longer comfortable with large gatherings.”
She said she hopes the event spreads the word about who they are and what they do.
Gionet said the chamber is optimistic that the event will lead to more Pitch-In events involving other non-profits in the county.
“Our non-profit organizations provide invaluable services and resources to individuals in our community,” Gionet said. “This is a great way for us to help build a network of volunteers they can tap into for current and future projects, while also providing our community with information about how to get involved.”
It costs $5 to attend and participants must be over 21. People can register in advance at https://chamber.saratoga.org/events/details/pitch-in-volunteer-event-41821?calendarMonth=2022-11-01.