By Mina Corpuz
TOWNSEND -- Susan Clement is retired, but sometimes it is hard to tell from her schedule.
As a volunteer, the Ashby resident is helping put together last minute plans for Townsend's annual Earth Day, which is scheduled for Saturday on the common. The free event is expected to draw up to 1,000 people and will have food, music, animals, and more.
"We're down to the wire," she said. Clement is in charge of bringing crafters and vendors to the celebration.
She sees volunteering as a meaningful way to keep busy and give back. Compared to the 20 years she worked in customer service for New England Business Service, Clement finds herself busier now.
Volunteering has been a part of her life. When her husband was in the military, Clement ran a family readiness support group. She also helped with Girl Scouts troops.
These days, most of Clement's volunteer work is working with local crafters and vendors. She has been organizing fairs for them to sell their pieces for about eight years.
Around the holidays, Clement helps organize a holiday craft fair to raise money for the Townsend Public Library. The funds go to services for patrons.
She has teamed up with volunteer Karen Clement (no relation) to put on the fair for the past few years. They also work together for the Earth Day celebration.
The mom and pop stores Clement brings to the fair sell a variety of crafts, including knitted items, cards, jewelry, and stained glass.
Clement said the craft fair has developed a pretty good following.
The most recent one used space in the library and the senior center, which is in the same building. Clement said the fair raised about $4,000.
Previously, she organized a craft fair at Ashby Elementary School, where her grandson was a student.
When he moved on to Hawthorne Brook Middle School in Townsend, Clement said she "followed him over" by starting to volunteer at the library and organize fairs at the school.
She said her grandson helped out with at the holiday fair by setting up, greeting people at the door, and cleaning up.
Over the years, Clement has put out advertisements or messages in school newsletters to reach out to crafters and to let residents. She grabs business cards of potential fair members whenever she is out and has been keeping a list of vendors and crafters throughout the years.
Putting everything together can be a lot of work, Clement said, but it is worth it.
"You don't sleep the last five to seven days before," she said.
When her children were young, Clement participated in craft fairs similar to the ones she organizes. She sold jewelry, painted flower pots, and silk flowers.
Clement still enjoys crafting, but likes organizing the fairs better.