Wednesday March 5, 2014
Goal is 120,000 people volunteering, making donations, April 12-20
Surrounded by volunteers building beds for school students without one at home, Mayor Greg Fischer today challenged individuals and businesses to join forces and help Louisville set a new record for public service during the third Give A Day volunteer week April 12-20. The annual week of service helps launch the 2014 Kentucky Derby Festival.
“Most people have busy lives, but we’re never too busy to take a little time to help others and improve their lives,” Fischer said. “We’ve added more ways that people can be part of this year’s week – I’d like to see every company, every citizen do something.”
Last year’s week produced nearly 110,000 volunteers and acts of compassion prompting other cities including St. Louis and Spokane, Wash. to express interest in establishing similar volunteer efforts. Fischer said this year’s goal is at least 120,000 volunteers and donations.
New ways for people to participate include donating small backpacks for students in need through the Blessings in a Backpack program. The effort is being organized by the PGA and backpacks can be dropped off at any public or private golf course. Also, donations can be made to Brightside to plant trees throughout Louisville. Donations can be made online at www.louisvilleky.gov/brightside.
Notable volunteer projects planned include:
· Build A Bed, with YouthBuild and AmeriCorps helping volunteers construct up to 200 beds for JCPS students who are literally sleeping on the floor at home;
· Renovation of three vacant houses by volunteers led by the Fuller Center. The finished homes will be provided to deserving families who helped with the renovation;
· 1,000 family literacy kits will be assembled by volunteers organized by Metro United Way. The kits will go to preschool children and their families for reading activities together at home to help kids enter kindergarten ready to learn and succeed.
Individuals or groups wanting to find a project should visit www.mygiveaday.com where projects and needs submitted by local non-profit agencies and other groups are listed. Fischer urged residents to also use the website to report their own community service.
“If your church or civic group is doing a project that week, let us know about it so it can count toward our new world record,” Fischer said.
As a special incentive, the first 5,000 people to sign up for a project or report their own volunteering will receive a free pass for the Aug. 4 practice round at the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.
“We connect people with the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done to reach our vision of a community whose people achieve their fullest potential through education, financial stability and healthy lives,” said Joe Tolan, president and CEO of Metro United Way. “We're proud to continue to lead Give A Day volunteer connections because we know that people who share their time and talent are rewarded in so many unexpected ways, and this is how, together, we improve lives in our community and Live United.”
In addition to the tree and backpack donations, other public service opportunities include giving new or used shoes to WaterStep. The Louisville-based organization uses the shoe donations to fund clean drinking water projects throughout the world. Also, cans of food can be dropped into Dare to Care bins at Kroger stores.
Individuals and groups can also join the Brightside Community-Wide Cleanup and help clean up neighborhoods and schools on Saturday, April 12. A record 11,000 volunteers turned out last year.
Students from Jefferson County Public Schools along with independent and Catholic schools will be tackling projects of all kinds. Last year, JCPS recorded more than 54,000 volunteers and compassionate acts. Area businesses are also heavily involved. Employee teams from companies such as ADP, Brown-Forman, Constellation Energy, Encompass, Fifth Third Bank, Humana, L&N Credit Union, Texas Roadhouse, Walgreens, Winston Industries and Yum Brands will tackle a variety of service work.
Individuals can also support Give A Day by donating a dollar while eating at local Wendy’s, Fazoli’s or Mark’s Feed Store restaurants, through March 15. The money raised will go to local non-profits for supplies to make more projects possible during the volunteer week.
Fischer said having Give A Day week as the lead-up to the world-famous Kentucky Derby Festival helps residents remember and plan for the service week each year and puts Louisville’s caring deeds in the world spotlight.
“Putting on our nearly 70 events every year would not be possible without some 4,000 volunteers,” said Mike Berry, president and CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival. “We know well the importance of volunteerism and it makes Give A Day week the perfect fit for our official schedule.”