Day of Caring: Community partners assist nonprofits

Volunteers worked to serve the needs of nonprofits that meet the needs of the local community last week. 

Almost 100 representatives from local businesses and organizations came together to serve eight agencies during the Great Valdosta United Way’s annual Day of Caring. 

Volunteers helped the Children’s Advocacy Center of Lowndes County, Lowndes Associated Ministries to People, the Salvation Army Valdosta, the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta and Living Bridges Ministry.

Airmen from Moody Air Force Base were present at the Second Harvest of South Georgia and the American Red Cross of South Central Georgia.

South Georgia Medical Center, Miller Hardware and Wild Adventures Theme Park also participated in the event. 

Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson, who is president of the Leadership Lowndes Class of 2020 and 2021, helped prepare reclaim boxes at Second Harvest alongside a few board members.

“That’s what we do,” he said. “Leadership Lowndes an all-volunteer board. The entire program here has five different community service projects that they embark on every single year. That’s just the mindset of it; service to community.”

He said he’s helping Second Harvest with securing a new building. He said the one currently occupied on Harbin Circle is 25 years old. The project could possibly cost $20 million.

“We’ve got a couple of hurdles and land and logistics and we want to get them out by the interstate so the trucking and all that they do to haul makes a lot more sense,” he said.

Eliza McCall, Second Harvest chief marketing officer, said Day of Caring acted as a soft opening for allowing volunteers to return to the facility.

The agency closed its doors to public volunteers in March 2020 due to the rise of COVID-19.

“It’s wonderful to get things kind of back to normal, and we love partnering with the United Way,” she said. “They always do such a good job representing us and the other partner agencies in the community.”

She said the reclaim boxes of food items the volunteers were sorting through would be utilized at the facility to benefit area nonprofits, churches and other organizations that shop at Second Harvest.

While reclaim boxes were being packed three airmen painted the Red Cross’ office space.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Alvarez and Staff Sgt. Jacob Tolias are from the 372nd Training Squadron Detachment 209 at Moody Air Force Base. Airman Elizabeth Hoefert is from the 23rd Medical Group at Moody.

The three participated for the first time in Day of Caring on Friday

“We just want to give back to our community definitely in times of need and hardships and with COVID,” Tolias said.

Alvarez is new to Valdosta by way of a permanent change of station from Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.

“It’s good to actually see the city and see where we could help, so this is a great opportunity to go around and actually see where we’re needed and what we can do,” he said.

Terri Jenkins, Red Cross regional executive director, believes the pandemic increased volunteerism in the local area.

“I think because of COVID, the volunteers probably jumped at the chance to be able to get out and do something for a nonprofit agency that is so outside of what they have considered their norm to be for the last year because of COVID,” she said.

“It gives the nonprofits the chance to share our mission and what we offer to the community and how impactful we are to the community and it gives us the opportunity to share with the volunteers that are coming in our office.”

Hoefert said she thinks the Red Cross does a lot for everyone.

“I just want to help them help other people because if you don’t have help yourself, you can’t help anybody else,” she said.

“It feels good to help because I think it just makes you a better person,” she said.

Alvarez said Day of Caring promoted Moody’s visibility. He said volunteering shows that the community can contact Moody for assistance.

The Red Cross office is presently closed to the general public.

Visit unitedwayvaldosta.org to learn more about the United Way and its 20 partner agencies.

Source: Valdosta Daily Times “Day of Caring: Community partners assist nonprofits” Article 

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