Volunteers Make the Difference at The Exchange

When Orcas Recycling Services took control of the new Exchange building, it was just a shell: a big metal building on a concrete slab. There was still lots to be done–namely to finish out the interior. There was some money raised in The Exchange fund drive, but still more help was needed. The plea went out for volunteers. With the help of 29 volunteers who logged 454 hours, The Exchange was open for business.

But the beat goes on. The need for volunteers is still there. Jim “Duff” Duffield, volunteer coordinator explains, “This is not the old Exchange, we have rent to pay the county, insurance, a bigger utility bill, and a larger staff than before, so we need volunteers to help.”

Already some Orcas residents have responded. Most of the “work” involves putting merchandise out on the floor, tidying up, and greeting and helping customers. No heavy lifting is required, you may set your own hours, and staff will do the challenging task of deciding what can and cannot be accepted at The Exchange.

“We would love to have people come in and take ownership of a department that they are interested in,” explains Duff. “Someone who knows about books, or housewares, or electronics. That would really be a big help and doesn’t have to be an everyday job.”

Duffield, who was instrumental in starting the Skagit Habitat for Humanity Store in Mount Vernon, WA, has high hopes for the new Exchange. He is now a full-time resident of Orcas Island, and is happy to orient new volunteers. He is available at 360-376-3032 and duff@exchangeorcas.org.

“There is a short orientation I need to give new volunteers and some minor paperwork, but it is all painless. We have a good cadre of volunteers already, but we need some additional folks to help with a variety of tasks.”

The new Exchange is located at the Orcas Recycling and Transfer station on Orcas Road south of Eastsound. The Exchange is open Thursday through Monday from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Thanks to Duff, there are free coffee and cookies for shoppers on Monday through the end of March.

“Hooray for volunteers,” says Duff, “but we still need more!”

You may also sign up to be a volunteer via the Exchange website at https://exchangeorcas.org/volunteer.