ShareFest: the blessing of volunteers
The volunteers who cleared Pam Adler’s Redlands yard of weeds, cacti and unwanted trees gave more than the gift of their time during this year’s Share- Fest weekend. They gave Adler and her late husband, Mike, peace of mind in his final days.
Mike Adler died April 17, just 11 days after his 74th birthday, following a five-year battle with colorectal cancer. Pam Adler said knowing that ShareFest volunteers would help her take care of an overgrown yard blistered with seedlings dropped by a flood 12 years ago gave her husband some comfort before he passed away.
“He was able to die knowing that yard was not going to be a burden for me,” Adler said Sunday on her front porch as volunteers picked at weeds and hauled away buckets of flora.
ShareFest is an annual event started in 2007 that brings together volunteers, many from local churches, to help Grand Valley residents with various household work, from tasks as simple as turning a mattress or cleaning out a fridge to the two-week process it took to clear Adler’s yard.
More than 500 projects were completed this year on or around ShareFest weekend Saturday and Sunday, according to volunteer and project coordinator Vicki McGee. Volunteer numbers have grown over the last seven years and partnerships between ShareFest and companies like E-Waste Recyclers of Colorado and Sutherlands have helped the project reach more people who have a physical or financial need for help. But McGee said there is demand for even more assistance.
“We have a large area. We need more volunteers and we would love to see more churches get involved,” McGee said.
As a member of Monument Presbyterian Church, Adler herself has volunteered for ShareFest in the past by making cookies for volunteers. Now as both a volunteer and a recipient, she said she sees what a blessing ShareFest is to so many people.
“Life gives us challenges but when we work together, we find a solution,” she said.