Make a Difference Day is about improving the lives of others. It is one of the largest organized efforts to bring volunteers together on a single day to make an impact through volunteer service. This year, Make a Difference Day was held on October 28, 2017. Locally, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, is celebrating twenty years of participation.
According to Janice Johnston, director of Schuylkill County Community Volunteers in Action, “more than 4,000 people are participating to benefit more than 4,500 people and 41 organizations this year. Since the first county event 20 years ago, more than 100,000 people have volunteered to complete 2,218 projects.”
Though the event is held on one day, projects can include longer-term initiatives as long as some of the activities are completed within a week of October 28. Make a Difference Day provided an opportunity to highlight the work and generosity of the people who helped with the FICC Transformation Project in the past year.
To date, at least 37 volunteers have supported the outdoor portion of the FICC Transformation project to achieve over 388 hours of accumulated volunteer service since project inception on September 6, 2016. Though the project started based on an unmet financial need, it quickly transformed into a way help the community. This weekend, 17 of the closest neighbors will be receiving a message of love and a hand-drawn picture from several children in the church along with a tulip bulb to plant and enjoy. The neighbor directly across from the church received landscaping services valued over $1000 absolutely free of charge thanks to the generosity of volunteers. Without hesitation, the church continues to support the Pottsville Area Little League by making the church parking lot available for games and practices that attract hundreds of people during the season. Significant work was done to improve parking availability this year, and there are plans for significant investment to support parking lot upgrades next year. Additionally, the Schuylkill YMCA benefited from use of the church property for the Pottsville Summer Day Camp; at least one dozen children attended. The list of ministries and organizations utilizing the property continues to grow from the HOPE Initiative to a lay counseling service to community prayer and worship meetings to open house events that bring the local community together. The church is home to more than 130 members who use the property on a weekly basis.
To support the financial needs of the project and adhere to the church’s no-solicitation or fundraising policy, personal cash donations exceeded $3300. Help in the form of product and services valued at $4100 were also provided by PPL Electric Utilities and DK Tree Service to bring the total unsolicited cash and value of donations since project inception to $7422.21.
To provide even greater benefit, there are plans to convert the church property across the street into a community garden. Maybe this will be next year’s Make a Difference project!
Note: subsequent posts related to the FICC Transformation Project will be in reverse chronological order unlike 2016 posts that were presented from past to present.
©Tonya R. Hartman, November 3, 2017
2017 Summary (including 2016)
Individual Volunteer Hours to Date: 217.75 hours
Family Volunteer Hours to Date: 98.5 hours
Other Recorded Volunteer Hours: 72 hours
Mileage to Date: 1553 miles
Personal Donations: $3322.21
Unsolicited Donations (Product/Service): $4100
Individual Volunteer Hours to Date: 37 hours
Family Volunteer Hours to Date: 62.5 hours
Other Recorded Volunteer Hours: 8 hours
Mileage to Date: 472 miles
Personal Donations: $729.72