Volunteering is different in the current COVID-19 world, and so is Volunteer Recognition Week.

National Volunteer Week is Apr. 19 to 25, and typically in the past the town has recognized its volunteers by hosting a special event at the Cochrane Movie House.

This year, the Town of Cochrane is recognizing volunteers with social media shout-outs and real-life gifts.

The town is inviting people to recognize our many volunteers on Facebook. Starting Apr. 20, a daily random draw will be made for a $100 gift card from a local grocery store. At the end of the week, one winner will be drawn from all of the entries for a $200 grocery gift card.

The shout-outs can be made on the Facebook page, Cochrane Programs, Activities and Opportunities.

Mayor Jeff Genung says volunteers form the very backbone of the community.

"Especially in these times, volunteers are even more important to the community."

He regularly boast to other municipal leaders of how Cochrane's vibrant spirit shines through its strong core of volunteers.

"You know, I've been talking at length over the last few months of how I've been connecting with other communities and their elected officials," he says."They all are always amazed at how many volunteers we get."

This year's recognition goes hand-in-hand with the town's shop local campaign that was ramped up during the pandemic.

"Now more than ever, those local businesses--and I know it first hand--are struggling. It's not just struggling financially, but it's how to adapt and overcome these challenging times and make it through to whenever we lift these restrictions. Hopefully, there's enough of our local businesses left at the end of this, so it's important for Cochrane residents to support local."

Recognition prizes are made possible by a grant from the Alberta government.