Belinda (not her real name) was a super star volunteer. She showed up regularly for her shifts and worked diligently stocking and organizing store sections. During a typical shift, she was cleaning up the wood section which was badly in need of organization. As she was moving varying sizes of wood to make them more salable, a piece with a sharp point fell, penetrated her shoe, and went right through her big toe. Apparently this piece of wood was balanced precariously between two other larger pieces. As they were moved, the sharp piece dropped to the ground. Belinda was new to town, worked as a nanny part time, and did not have medical insurance.
This unfortunate incident was indeed a wake-up call for us that mitigating risk doesn’t just mean having contracts, liability insurance, and criminal background checks in place. It also means physical safety and well-being for staff and volunteers.
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