GUEST COLUMN: Acts of kindness promote purpose and positivity

Modified: December 4, 2023 2:18pm

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By Deputy County Executive Lisa Chimera

I would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season. As we turn the corner from fall to winter, this is a great time of year for celebrations and being together. I would also like to remind everyone that this is the season of giving, and in the City of Good Neighbors, there are so many ways to positively impact our community.

Whether you take the time to volunteer with a local group or choose to donate food, clothing or toys, any act of community service will provide a great sense of purpose and positivity.

In Erie County, the Department of Senior Services offers a full range of volunteer opportunities for older adults through the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. In partnership with 90 local nonprofit and public organizations, RSVP allows you to choose how and where you want to serve. You choose the amount of time you want to give and even whether you want to utilize any existing skills or develop new ones. In short, you find the opportunity that’s right for you. To find out more about this program, call 716-858-7548, or visit

The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System is also accepting volunteer applications online or at your local library. The BECPL is committed to fulfilling its mission through building and strengthening relationships throughout the community. Volunteer time, energy and goodwill are invaluable assets to our libraries. Volunteers come from all walks of life and can be students, adults and/or individuals from local organizations who wish to participate in a volunteer project at their local library. Applications are available at

Another great opportunity is to join the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens in a volunteer role. Volunteers are an essential component of the day-to-day operations of the botanical gardens. Whether guiding a tour group through the conservatory, working on new plants for an exhibit or greeting visitors at a special event, the time and talent of volunteers help keep the botanical gardens up and running smoothly. Please contact volunteer coordinator Ellie Nunn at or 716-827-1584, ext. 224 with any questions.

In addition to these opportunities, there are many other groups looking for volunteers at this time of year. If you are able, food pantries and organizations holding toy drives will also be looking for donations ahead of the upcoming holidays. You can check with your local municipality to find events and other occasions to give back directly to your neighbors.

Lastly, while this can be a busy time of year, remember that even small gestures of kindness can truly make a difference. Check in on an elderly neighbor, give someone else your spot in line or do something to make a coworker feel special. These important acts help us to connect with one another and set a good example for how we should treat each other. I wish everyone a happy holiday season.