ALMH Market coordinator Nicole Cox appreciates the time, energy
and smiles her volunteers bring to the community initiative, which
debuted in early May, attracting nearly 1,500 visitors.
“Volunteers are vital to the market,” she said. “We have a lot of
moving pieces.” Her volunteers come in early to help set up and then
shift to customer service at 8 a.m. when the first customers begin
“Guest interactions are super important,” Cox said. “Really great
customer service changes the lens in which people view the
experience. Our volunteers recognize regulars versus first-time
visitors. They are irreplaceable—chatty, friendly and
Diane Campbell, 66, volunteers twice a month at The ALMH Market. She
enjoys helping the vendors set up before open and then greeting
people, answering questions, helping take items out to customers’
cars. She also loves watching the kids interact at the Power of
Produce booth, which occasionally includes the “Rock the Bike”
activity where kids can pedal a stationary bike and blend a fruit
smoothie at the same time.
“Volunteering at the market is so much fun,” she said. “You get to
meet new people plus see a lot of people you know. It really
showcases Lincoln and what we have to offer. I haven’t met anyone
who hasn’t been delighted with what they bought. There are
demonstrations, free samples, health screenings, drawings, fitness
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Currently, 25 people regularly volunteer at the market. Cox would
like to see that number eventually double. Two volunteer
orientations have been held already with another one being planned
for this fall and in March.
“People in this community are so willing to give of their time,” she said. “They
understand that it’s rewarding because you know you are doing something to be
helpful and better our community. We have activities planned for next year that
will require more volunteers so we are trying to be proactive in recruiting.”
The volunteer touch complements the vendors’ offerings and health education at
The ALMH Market. Between 500 and 700 people stop by each Saturday to eat
breakfast, shop for fresh fruit and vegetables, get a blood pressure screening,
take home a bouquet of fresh flowers or connect with friends and neighbors each
Saturday morning. The market runs from 8am-noon Saturdays through Oct. 29 at the
Logan County Fairgrounds.
Want to Volunteer?
Attend an orientation. Fill out paperwork. Since volunteers work with children,
there is a background check, bloodwork and drug testing. Once approved, each
volunteer receives an online link and can sign up for shifts that work best with
their schedules. Contact Nicole Cox for more information at cox.nicoleALMH@mhsil.com,
call 217-605-5701 or visit the website at TheALMHMarket.org.
[Michael Leathers,, Memorial Health