Assigning tasks to takers: Volunteer group seeks new coordinator

By : 
Jordan Gerard

From the simple task of changing a light bulb to providing transportation to the medical clinic in Spring Grove and back to the manor, Task Takers fills a niche for those who need assistance.

And now, the group that provides help needs a little help themselves in finding a new coordinator.

When the former coordinator resigned for a different position, Task Takers didn’t have anyone to assign tasks to takers.

“We’ve had to suspend our services because we don’t have anyone to take calls or match people with tasks,” volunteer Jan Lochner said. 

The group expects to find another coordinator within four to six weeks. The role is vital because it matches the tasks to the takers who have the appropriate skills for the task.

Lochner said the tasks range in variety. It often includes simple things such as changing a light bulb or batteries in smoke detectors.

But for people unable to complete those tasks, there’s Task Takers.

Sometimes the tasks take more time, such as driving someone to La Crosse, Wisconsin for a medical appointment.

But then again, people can’t even get from the Spring Grove Manor to Tweeten Lutheran Health Care Center across town. That’s where Task Takers comes in.

“We provide a volunteer service that’s beneficial to people of low to moderate income,” Lochner said. “Or many people don’t have family they can call on. If they do, they’re reluctant to ask family to do things.”

As willing as their family might be to help them out, people also want to spend quality time with relatives, not give them a laundry list of to-do items when they visit.

Task Takers has never asked for payment after they complete the task. 

However, if the person does give them money for the task, it goes back into Task Takers to help the group complete future tasks.

That’s where the coordinator comes in. The goal is to find the right person by April 15, when the busy season of yard clean up starts.

“We need a person to take the phone calls and start making the matches,” Lochner said. “We’re always looking for volunteers, too.”

Volunteer Lee Hoekstra said the position isn’t the easiest to fill. The group would prefer someone who has lived in Spring Grove or the area for a while, because they would know more people. 

People who request tasks may also feel more comfortable with someone they already know.

But if that doesn’t happen, Task Takers will consider anyone qualified for the job.

“The hope would be they wouldn’t do it as just a voluntary thing,” he added. “It’s the finance part of it that we are also figuring out.”

Spring Grove Communications started the group about five years ago. The goal was to help people who needed it. Anyone can call the group and have them come perform a task or a series of tasks.

But now Spring Grove Communications is slowly “weeding itself out,” while still supporting the program. 

The group is nonprofit 501c3 status, but revenue streams have changed over the last five years, Hoekstra said. Task Takers is also sustained by grants and donations.

“The board at the phone office will still support the program, just not with the type of support they’ve been able to do in the past,” Hoekstra said.

When a coordinator is found, Task Takers can continue tasks such as helping decorate homes, transporting people to go shopping or to medical appointments, providing companionship with games and cards, pruning bushes, yard clean up tasks like raking and hauling brush and handiness skills such as fixing door latches, repairing furniture and more.

The group of 43 volunteers is the busiest in the spring, summer and fall, though there are still tasks to do in the winter, too.

“That’s part of a gift to the community and the phone company,” Lochner said. “They’re able to match people’s skills to what people need.”

Applications for the coordinator position can be picked up at Spring Grove Communications, due back by March 29. Mail completed applications to 

PO Box 73

Spring Grove, MN 55974

If people want to donate to Task Takers, donations can be sent to the address above. Checks can be made out to Task Takers.