This is part of a series about Make A Difference Day award winners. Organizers of winning projects receive $10,000 grants to further their charitable work. USA TODAY will host an awards event in Washington, D.C., on May 6.
Make A Difference Day in Delaware, Ohio, began with breakfast at the Boy Scouts of America Camp Lazarus, where about 700 volunteers received their project assignments. From there, on Oct. 25, they tackled projects ranging from gardening and trimming for homeowners in need to decorating for the county’s Halloween events. Senior citizens, who applied for assistance, also received help with home maintenance, furniture moving and other household chores.
Stephanie Steinbeck of the non-profit Council for Older Adults says that although some of the tasks were simple, they helped relieve the seniors who could not perform them.
“On large days of service like this, the seniors really have a chance to realize the value that younger people can bring when they volunteer for the community,” she says.
Melinda Metz and her team at the Connections Volunteer Center organized the community-wide efforts. She formed more than 20 partnerships, including many groups at Ohio Wesleyan University, where students participated as part of National Pan-Hellenic Council’s Greek Day of Service. With supplies and extra manpower donated by Home Depot, the groups of Greek students completed projects including organizing a new food pantry warehouse that stores donated items.
Metz says that seeing hundreds of college students walking home from their work sites at the end of the day still stands out.
“Make A Difference Day is our chance to highlight volunteerism and engage so many people in the community to make it a better place,” she says. “Our hope is the momentum from that day’s event carries on.”
About Make A Difference Day
Make A Difference Day, the nation’s largest annual day of volunteering, is a USA TODAY initiative, backed by Gannett Co. in collaboration with Points of Light and supported by Newman’s Own.
Visit makeadifferenceday.com for more information.
The next Make A Difference Day is Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015.