The first weekend of April marks the return of the Canadian Cancer Society’s daffodil fundraiser, but if the Elmira campaign can’t find more volunteers, the charity may lose some of its reach.“We’re really, really desperate for help,” said Sue Dean Martin, chair of the daffodil campaign in Elmira. “If we’re going to expand or even stay at the level that we are, we really will need more Elmira or Woolwich people to step up.”
Entering its 75th year in Waterloo Region, the daffodil campaign is scheduled for April 5, 6 and 7 – coinciding with Saturday’s Elmira Maple Syrup Festival. So far, booths with daffodil flowers and pins are scheduled to open outside Elmira’s No Frills and Foodland – flowers will be on sale for $7 per bunch, with smaller donations earning a pin. But with volunteers dwindling in recent years, Martin has found the responsibility of mounting the campaign heavy on her shoulders.
“I have to go pick up the daffodils; I have to bundle them all for the presales, deliver them to all the businesses that have ordered presales,” Martin Said. “Then, you have to set up your booths at the grocery stores; you have to find volunteers to man them; you have to collect the money; you have to deliver the flowers …
“And plus, when I don’t have enough volunteers, I have to do it. So, it just becomes way too much for one person to handle over a weekend.”
Karen Griffiths, unit manager of the Cancer Society in Waterloo Region, said the venerable campaign holds special significance. “It’s a signature event of the Canadian Cancer Society, because the daffodil signifies hope,” she said.
Volunteers of any stripe are welcome, but in particular, the Cancer Society hopes that someone will step forward to join Martin as a co-chair – a commitment limited to April 3-7.
“You need to do site coordination to make sure all the sites have flowers and have enough pins,” said Griffiths. “Make sure everybody has what they need, and make sure each volunteer shift changes.”
Martin has found that members of Elmira’s service clubs are tied up with the Maple Syrup Festival. Now, she welcomes anyone from the surrounding areas – Breslau, St. Jacobs, or anywhere else in the region – to come pitch in. While she has hopes of expanding the campaign to surrounding areas in the years to come, Martin said that more volunteers are an essential factor.
“I really feel that if somebody doesn’t step up to the plate, I’ll probably have to step back, and instead of Woolwich growing and expanding in this area, we probably will do the opposite.”