The local senior citizen assistance organization celebrated its fifth anniversary by honoring student and community volunteers and examining its history and success.
The anniversary celebrated the organization's commitment to aiding the elderly, the disabled and their families, often by methods overlooked by other service groups.
"Providing companionship and relief care is a unique type of service that other agencies just don't provide," said David Kelly, a UNC professor and member of A Helping Hand's board of directors.
Cathy Ahrendsen, the organization's founder and executive director, used the festivities to recognize volunteer services, while clients told of how the organization improved their lives. The Carolina Style tap dance troupe provided entertainment.
Volunteers from A Helping Hand cook meals, give rides to clients and a break to the full-time caregivers. The volunteers' service allows caretakers a little time to get away from their responsibilities or to run errands more easily.
But some volunteers say the most important service they provide is their company. "It's sort of halfway between housekeeping and medical services," Kelly said.
Ahrendsen said she owes most of the success of the scale for respite care services to volunteers, 90 percent coming from UNC.
"One reason it has been so successful is that there have been so many great people from Carolina."
Paige Rodgers, a senior journalism major, is a student volunteer. As such, she said she writes press releases for the organization and works in the office. She will receive a certificate for completing an internship of 50 hours of service.