Last week, a gathering of 38 volunteers, APS members and non-members alike, arrived at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte to lend a hand for Volunteer Work Week 2023.
Volunteer Work Week experience ran the gamut from nearly a dozen first-timers to a handful of volunteering veterans who had attended nearly every VWW since the tradition began.
Dick Colberg, longtime VWW attendee, processes book donations in the APRL. Colberg and fellow volunteer Foster Miller spent their week processing book donations, determining what volumes the library needed and which could go on to new homes.
Following an official welcome from APS Executive Director Scott English and Director of Education Eric Spielvogel on Monday morning, VWW participants set to their tasks with willing hearts and eager spirits. Volunteers worked primarily in one of four areas: sifting through donated stamps and covers with professional APS volunteers Leonard and Darlene Bloom; accessioning philatelic journals, books, and auction catalogs with Marian Mills and Scott Tiffney for the APRL; sorting price lists and other materials from the Trenchard donation; and processing circuit books in the Sales department under the watchful eye of Bill Dixon. Some volunteers preferred to work outside of these categories, however, including former APS Director of Expertizing Mercer Bristow (now retired), who returned to his old stomping grounds for the week, assisting current Director of Expertizing Ken Martin in his duties.
Former APS Director of Expertizing Mercer Bristow shows off his infectious smile during an interview in the Expertizing department.
Whether volunteers were at the APC for a day or the whole week, they attacked their assigned (and sometimes unassigned) jobs with vim and vigor, processing materials so quickly that staff made multiple trips to storage to find them more to do. From helping Membership with mailing prep to a dry-run of setting up the YPLF booth for GASS 2023, there were no shortage of tasks to tackle.
Between stints in the library, Sundman Hall, or the Morse building, volunteers could be found chatting over coffee and snacks, lunching with staff and fellow volunteers, and perusing a large table of stamps free to visitors. Volunteers also had the opportunity to use the APRL, visit circuit sales, and help themselves to literature and stamp collecting tools that were “free to a good home.”
Volunteer Work Week has many perks – the opportunity to visit the APRL and circuit sales, bonding with fellow volunteers, and, of course, free stuff. Also pictured: Director of Education Eric Spielvogel on the move.
On Wednesday, volunteers and staff were treated to a pizza lunch from Pizza Mia in Bellefonte; though all offerings were met with approval, the “Cheeseburger in Paradise” pizza (featuring garlic ranch sauce, a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar, dill pickles, locally raised ground beef, red onion, and a sprinkling of dill) was a clear favorite.
By Friday, the remaining volunteers seemed determined to wring every second of work from their week – and wring they did, sorting, processing, and until building supervisor (and VWW 2023 official t-shirt designer) Fred Fox was ready to turn out the lights and head home for the weekend.
“Volunteer Work Week is always one of the most amazing reminders of how dedicated our members are to the APS,” said APS Executive Director Scott English. “The participants give so generously of their time to help us better serve our stamp collecting community. I’m in awe of what they accomplish in such a short time here.”
Thank you to all of our volunteers for their hard work and inspiring enthusiasm during Volunteer Work Week – we could not be more grateful for your contributions and your dedication to the APS.
Volunteer Work Week in Numbers
Total Volunteers: 38
Total Volunteer Hours: 845
Total pallets processed: 7
Total boxes processed: 75+
Total pallets processed: 17
Total boxes processed: 190+
Boxes of books processed: 91
Boxes of journals processed: 76
Total boxes sorted: 53
Boxes of material repurposed for resale: 17
Circuit books remounted: 36
Thank you to our volunteers!