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Volunteers Needed County-Wide

IOWA CITY, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) -- Iowa City is consistently ranked as one of the top mid-sized cities in the country when it comes to volunteerism -- and with National Volunteer Week coming up in April, it draws attention to the ever-present need for people to give back.

On Wednesday night, the First Avenue Club was filled with a buffet full of food and tables lined with awards and certificates. It looked like the kind of spread a company would deliver for an employee appreciation night, but the people partaking in the event do not get paid -- they volunteer with the Crisis Center.

"I have to say, even tonight we have volunteers who are back at the Crisis Center, I think we're having pizza delivered for them because they're handling the 24-hour crisis line and they're getting the food bank restocked for tomorrow," said community and development director Beth Ritter Ruback.

Those volunteers are people like Nancy Rowe, the crisis intervention volunteer of the year, who spends her free time helping people in trauma, some struggling with mental illness or looking to take their own lives. 

"Well, that's when you take a big deep breath and get prepared to be on the phone for a couple hours," said Rowe.

Without people like Rowe, and 300 other volunteers, the Crisis Center would have to hire more than 18 full-time staff members. But they, and other nonprofits county-wide, are always looking for more help.

With a transient student population and many volunteers moving from one organization to another, filling open spots can be a challenge.

"Often times, what we find is that once someone has a connection to an organization they may stay and do more hours," said United Way vice president for community impact and engagement Patti Fields.

But they have to find the right fit, just like the volunteers at the Crisis Center awards ceremony did.

"Everyone in this room is here because they care about someone they'll never know, they'll never find out how it comes out, but they want to help them," Rowe said.

The Crisis Center is currently recruiting new volunteers for its food bank. Find more information at
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