Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More than two tons of food collected!

The cans of corn and boxes of macaroni and cheese have been tallied, and the results are amazing! In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, HandsOn West Central Ohio partnered with Hits 105.5 to collect more than 4,800 pounds of food for four food pantries and soup kitchens in Darke, Logan, Miami and Shelby Counties.

A program of Council on Rural Services, HandsOn West Central Ohio brought together 136 volunteers to organize, staff and publicize the event. Twenty-six of these volunteers are members of HandsOn’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), of which event co-chairs Mary Williston and Nancy Sharp are both members. More than 350 hours of time and talent were devoted to the event by volunteers, with the service alone valued at nearly $7,300. Sixteen collection points were sponsored throughout the region, and all counties received at least 900 pounds of food as a result of this second annual food drive. Proceeds will benefit Bethany Center, Darke County FISH, Holy Angels Soup Kitchen and Our Daily Bread. All items stay in the county they were collected in, with 903 pounds of food directly benefitting Darke County FISH in Greenville.

“What makes this event stand out is that it was almost entirely organized, staffed and managed by volunteers,” says HandsOn West Central Ohio Volunteer Coordinator Sherry Baker. “The leadership of our RSVP volunteers, who typically assist with a variety of service projects throughout the year, empowered so many other members of our community to give back as well.”

HandsOn West Central Ohio Director Nicolette Winner agrees. “The idea behind this event and the King day of service nationally is to inspire members of our community to volunteer not only during Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, but also to give back year-round. We have so many opportunities for area residents to share their hobbies and expertise with friends and neighbors in need, and we’re thrilled to help people get connected with an organization that can best utilize each volunteer’s own personal talents,” she says.

A national day of volunteer service, the Martin Luther King Day of Service is a way to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings into community service that helps empower and strengthen local communities. The aim is to make the holiday a day ON, where people of all ages and backgrounds come together to improve lives, bridge social barriers, and move our nation closer to the “Beloved Community” that Dr. King envisioned. A record number of Americans honored Dr. King and answered President Obama’s call to service by volunteering this year. Americans made it “a day on, not a day off” by delivering meals, refurbishing schools, reading to children, signing up mentors, and much, much more.

HandsOn West Central Ohio, a program of Council on Rural Services, is proud to be a part of this national effort. To learn more about HandsOn West Central Ohio or opportunities to volunteer throughout the year, visit http://www.handsonwestcentralohio.org/ or call (937) 548-8002, ext. 211. View event photos and videos on the program’s Facebook page by visiting www.facebook.com/handsonwestcentralohio.

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