Volunteers Like Elma Make The Difference

Having spent 44 years dedicated to the Children’s Hospital Book Market, it’s easy to see why Elma Neufeld is September’s Children’s Hospital Foundation Volunteer of the Month.

Elma can still recall when her Book Market journey began.

“I was working evenings at the Children’s Hospital when Pat Scorer, our Director of Nursing, asked the nurses and nurses’ aides to volunteer at the Book Market,” remembers Elma. “Pat explained that people donate books and the money from the sale comes back to help our children. Having two small kids of my own I didn’t think twice, and I’ve volunteered every year since.”

Elma worked at Children’s Hospital for 25 years in a variety of capacities. During her tenure she has seen the Book Market grow from its humble beginnings.

“Early on we put up a table in the lobby of the Community Service Building to sell donated books,” recalls Elma. “We made about $200 that year and were able to give parking passes to parents who were visiting long term patients. That was my first experience and it stuck with me. I looked forward to our Book Market every year after that.”

Book Market staff are delighted by Elma’s ongoing participation.

“Elma is a Book Market treasure,” says Carol Irving, Children’s Hospital Book Market Coordinator. “She’s always upbeat, positive and so enthusiastic! Elma has been a loyal and dedicated volunteer for 44 years, arriving for her shift smiling and ready to go. You can see her love of Book Market written all over her face!”

Elma takes on any task, large or small, with joy. It all stems from her love of volunteering.

“People should volunteer because this fund raiser generates lots of money for equipment and grants to improve our hospital,” says Elma. “The Book Market has been built up for over 50 years and it is important to keep it going. Many of us volunteers are getting old and we need young people to take it over. Staff at the hospital can see the benefits and should feel obligated to keep this worthwhile project going. I challenge all employees just like Pat Scorer challenged us.”

It is a challenge served with a smile.

“Elma has a wonderful sense of humour,” says Carol. “She is a barrel of laughs, and at the same time is always very professional. When Elma says ‘I see leaning books’, that’s the volunteers cue to tidy up the shelves. No sloughing off allowed!”

For Elma every Book Market is a chance to reconnect with friends and make a difference.

“The friends that I have made in my 43 years volunteering are irreplaceable,” says Elma. “At my age, I always say this will be my last year but when I see the sales figures I can’t quit. I get a lot of satisfaction from being part of this great team and working on this great project.”

Bear hugs to September’s Volunteer of the Month Elma Neufeld for her dedicated support of the Children’s Hospital Book Market.