Holiday Shop Volunteer Needs

During our annual Holiday Shop in December, we are fortunate to engage the talents of over 3000 community volunteers. Beginning in late November, over a two week period from shop set-up to take-down, volunteers are involved in numerous activities including working in the individual departments, stocking, sorting, and the most rewarding – assisting our 12,000+ clients with their shopping selections . On-line sign up to volunteer at the Holiday Shop as an individual or group will be available beginning in October and we encourage you to get involved. Once you have helped at shop and seen the sincere gratitude of our clients, you will want to come back year after year.

In order to make the Holiday Shop a success, we work year-round to shop for discounted items, coordinate donation drives, and build community awareness. With the exception of a part-time Executive Director and a part-time Administrative Assistant, the Johnson County Christmas Bureau is an organization completely run by dedicated volunteers. Click here to review the following opportunities to assist us throughout the year and let us know which ones best match your interests.

Thank you for the contribution of your time and your talents.

 

Volunteer Award

More than 45 years after volunteering to serve in the U.S. Army, Jim Rourke has been honored for his work in another volunteer assignment as JCCB's Chair of the Delivery & Transportation Committee by receiving the first Ruth Keroher Volunteer of the Year Award.

The new award recognizes "extraordinary volunteer service" and was given to Jim in a surprise presentation at the Holiday of Hope. The Executive Board created the award in memory of one of JCCB's longest and most influential volunteers, Ruth Keroher, who died last March at age 105. Ruth was active in the Shawnee Mission Chapter of the American Association of University Women (JCCB's founding organization) and was instrumental in the transition from the initial Adopt A Family concept into what became the Holiday Shop in 1978.

"Jim was a unanimous choice for the award because what he does touches every department at Shop," said Barb McNeile, executive director. "He will do whatever you ask him to do and do it with a smile. Everyone loves Jim."

And during Shop, everyone relies on Jim as well. Donations of food, coats and books increase and need to be picked up from a variety of locales scattered throughout the county, including dozens of schools in different districts, and then delivered to Shop. Jim's very first pick up was at an Olathe school, gathering books donated by a school librarian. Since then he's driven as far east as St. Louis and north as St. Joseph on JCCB assignments. Last year his committee clocked 380 hours of donated service.

Jim's volunteer career with JCCB began in 2010 after he retired from his 41-year career with Diebold, a global company based in Ohio that provides electronic security systems for financial institutions, commercial enterprises and various retail outlets.

"There comes a point when you realize life's been pretty good to you and it's time to give back," said Jim, who's 67. "There's not a soul who volunteers at the Christmas Bureau who I don't admire. I still can't understand why they chose me when there are so many, many dedicated volunteers."

Born in Connecticut, Jim served three years in the Army during the 1960's including a stint guarding and moving vehicles along the German border with Czechoslovakia. His unit was transferred to Fort Riley where he met his future wife Jan. Together they have a son who's now the assistant director of the University of Kansas Bookstore in Lawrence and a daughter who's principal of Northview Elementary School in the Olathe District.

So what's next at JCCB for its first Volunteer of the Year? After years of delivering to Shop, now Jim wants to work at Shop. "It seems like I'm always running around picking up and delivering things that I never have time to actually work with the clients," Jim said. "This year I want to be sure I spend some time doing that."