Volunteering Gives Seniors New Lease On Life

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Eleanor Malcho describes herself as the typical senior citizen who likes to volunteer her time to help others. And, despite the fact she has been named the Payson Senior Center volunteer of the month, she insists she is not doing anything special.

Malcho said she does whatever she can to volunteer, and donating her time helps her find something to fill her time.

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Eleanor Malcho, the volunteer of the month at the Payson Senior Center, works on a roster Monday morning.

She did not want to continue to work, and volunteering is something that gives and provides her with something to do.

Some of Malcho's duties as a Senior Center volunteer include taking the money for its lunches, signing up new members and directing them to places around Payson.

"I do whatever comes along," she said.

Malcho said she is just one of many volunteers at the Center and around town who give their time for others.

"I wasn't suppose to work today, but here I am," she said.

Senior Center Director Marsha Cauley said Malcho does not hesitate to come in to cover for someone who becomes ill.

"I figure I am trying to do something that is considerate," Malcho said, adding that she really became interested in donating her time after her husband died 10 years ago.

She said the place she enjoys the most when volunteering is the Time Out Thrift Store, which supports the domestic violence shelter.

"I volunteer (there), and I feel very comfortable doing that because I am helping the gals. Someone has to do it," she said.

She said it gives her satisfaction because she is helping someone.

"You can't sit home and watch television," she said. "I always meet a lot of nice people here, and you can do a lot of laughing here."

Cauley said Malcho is one of about 30 to 40 volunteers who donate their time to the Center on a weekly basis.

She said there are volunteers who run the Meals on Wheels Program. There is a runner and a driver on each of the two routes.

Volunteers also work in the kitchen and the thrift store, which is located next to the center.

She said many seniors want to stay active after their working days are over.

"This is the time that they can volunteer," Cauley said.

She said the Senior Center could "absolutely" not survive without the volunteerism of seniors.

"We don't have that kind of a budget," she said.

"If we didn't have the volunteers, we could not pay for the positions they (fill)."

She said the center pays seven staff members, and the 30 to 35 volunteers are a necessity in keeping the operations going.

"We would have to have a paid staff of 40 to 45 (employees) to do what (volunteers) can do," she said.

-- To reach Michael Maresh call 474-5251 ext. 112 or e-mail mmaresh@payson.com.

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