October Volunteer Spotlight

This month’s volunteer spotlight shines on Folkmoot’s “Going the Extra Mile” award recipients, John and Sandra Bell. The Bells moved to Waynesville in 2016 and became acquainted with Folkmoot at festival’s International Festival Day and the Candlelight Closing.


The Bell’s interest in Folkmoot was in part based on their professional careers. The couple lived internationally with John’s job in the Air Force and Sandra enjoyed teaching multicultural classes in Japan. Now retired, they spend most of their time volunteering together with local community organizations. Haywood County is so lucky to have the Bells in our community.


Folkmoot was a perfect fit for their talents and interests and we are so happy to have them involved.


In April of 2017, Sandra and John attended a monthly volunteer meeting, and as they say, “the rest is history.” From the start, they were both willing to contribute their time and efforts to the organization. To start, the couple signed up for ushering and helped out during our Saturday Volunteer Days.


The Bells say that their favorite Folkmoot job has been helping in the cafeteria. Having previously volunteered in soup kitchens and food banks, they understand how nonprofit organizations operate with very little resources. So from their prior volunteer experience, they knew to bring their own knives to help Folkmoot cafeteria workers prepare each meal. Michelle Romberger, Cafeteria Lead for the festival, said “The Bells are amazing volunteers, I couldn’t have asked for better assistants this past festival. They came with expertise and helped to build a productive, positive culture this year.”


“It doesn’t matter the task, the Bells are often one of the first to respond to my messages. They’ve contributed their time and they’ve even brought donations from our wish list. This kind of generosity among our volunteers is why I love my job. The Bells are helping us meet the Folkmoot mission and I am always grateful to have their help.” said Operations and Volunteer Coordinator, Catherine MacCallum.


This past festival, the Bells were able to dive into the Folkmoot, understanding the vital importance of volunteer support and efforts. Still, the Bells were amazed by the festival. “The number of volunteers it takes to run this festival took us by surprise,” said John Bell. “I also didn’t know about the involvement Folkmoot had in the inmate work release program or that the Sheriff’s crew came to help out on big projects in the buildings.”  “That was a nice surprise,” added Sandra.


When asked to name their favorite group of the 2017 festival, the Bells responded, “We loved the group from Argentina. Their dancing style was magnificent. As well as Israel’s horn player, he was truly mesmerizing …such talent.” said John Bell. Describing Folkmoot in one word, John offered “diversity” and Sandra responded, “colorful.”


Since the conclusion of the 2017 festival, the Bells have been spending lots of time volunteering for other important nonprofit organizations in Haywood County. Still, they plan to stay engaged with Folkmoot, volunteering for year-round events and again offering their time and talents to the 2018 festival.


Folkmoot could not operate without its wonderful volunteers, and John and Sandra Bell have been generous to the organization and risen to the top of our appreciation list. The entire staff thanks, John and Sandra for their time and for their commitment to sharing the mission of Folkmoot with the community. Thank you, John & Sandra Bell. We appreciate you!

For more information about volunteer opportunities, contact Catherine MacCallum, Operations & Volunteer Coordinator at catherine@folkmoot.org.

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John Bell, Catherine MacCallum, and Sandra Bell