The past two weeks in our city have been particularly devastating and, at the same time, exhilaratingly inspiring.

With fires burning all around us and families being forced from their homes, it sure puts things in perspective on one’s priority list. Obviously, matchmaking has not been a priority. In fact, I was quite impressed with some of the people with whom I have been working. My email correspondence with them had paused — then I noticed many of them posting about their volunteer experiences at the evacuation centre downtown at Sandman Centre.

I realized many of these men and women were, in fact, volunteering at some level, possibly together, on the same shift. I have to take this opportunity to explain how cool it is that the need for volunteers presented an opportunity to find out who shares your common true spirit and what really matters: compassion, caring, concern and genuine heartfelt empathy for people, animals and business. For people who think chemistry is based on a photo, I am here to tell you chemistry and connection happens by sharing a cat crate-cleaning shift or a dog-walking shift. It happens when seeing someone reach out to those in need. A photo cannot show someone’s heart. A crisis can. Seeing people in our community step forward day after day and night after night has inspired so many.

Not only have we seen huge amounts of money raised for wildfire evacuees, we have seen evacuees actually turn into volunteers themselves. The United Way Thompson Nicola has set up a social recovery task force to aid in the long-term rebuilding, recovery and needs of the community. I haven’t put in nearly enough volunteer time and, if you want to join me, let’s all offer to help them out. If you are single and have time to spare, you will feel great by helping — and the bonus is you may even meet your perfect match.

The only match I want you to light is the one in your heart! So email Rebecca@ unitedwaytnc.ca and we will do this together.

If you email me a photo of you volunteering, we will put you in the draw for a $50 gift certificate to Flavours of India. Email to tara@kamloopsthisweek.com.

Nandi is an expert when it comes to volunteering time to help his community. If you are single, happy and looking to share that joy with someone, I have a list of awesome people with whom to connect.