Punctuated by the “call to the post” from Churchill Downs bugler Steve Buttleman, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer today challenged the community to “get in the race” and help Louisville set a world’s record for public service during the Give A Day volunteer week April 15-22. The week of service helps launch this year’s Kentucky Derby Festival and coincides with National Volunteer Week.
Surrounded by volunteers from organizations and companies ranging from Jefferson County Public Schools to the YMCA and UPS, Fischer said there will be something for everyone to do during the annual Give A Day week.
“Whether you give an hour or a day, donate a canned good, give blood, volunteer at a local non-profit agency or simply do a good deed for a neighbor, you can make a difference and help set a record for caring,” Fischer said. “We want people challenging each other: ‘What are you doing for Give A Day week? How will you make Louisville an even more compassionate city?’”
Fischer said the goal for the week is at least 55,000 volunteers and “acts of kindness.”
Anyone wanting to get involved should go to the website: www.mygiveaday.com, There individuals or groups can volunteer for a growing list of projects and needs submitted by local non-profit agencies, churches and other groups. Organizations needing volunteer help can also use the website to register their projects.
“Through our Volunteer Connection we are excited to help organize volunteers and projects for Give A Day and we urge people to go to the website,” said Joe Tolan, president and CEO of Metro United Way. “At Metro United Way, we create connections, get commitments, and help focus energies around our common goals.”
People may 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 the world’s record,” Fischer said. “Any act of kindness counts, whether it’s mowing grass for an elderly neighbor or reading to a student.”
Among those who will be hard at work during Give A Day week will be thousands of local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts who will be helping at churches, retirement homes and parks. “One of our core values in Scouting is the importance of citizenship and we¹re excited to participate in the Give A Day initiative,” said Barry Oxley, scout executive/CEO of the Lincoln Heritage Council. “With over 29,000 youth and volunteers involved in Scouting, we have an opportunity to make a real impact on the community.”
Other volunteer work will come from troops of Girl Scouts, churches and neighborhood associations. Brightside will be recruiting volunteers for neighborhood cleanups. Employee teams from companies like Yum Brands, Humana, Brown-Forman, Chase Bank and Orr Safety will be working throughout Louisville. Student-athletes from the University of Louisville and Bellarmine will be tackling service projects at schools and non-profit agencies and military veterans will be helping at the VA hospital.
Public service opportunities available to everyone include giving blood at more than a dozen of American Red Cross sites, dropping off cans of food for Dare to Care at local Kroger stores and donating shoes to EDGE Outreach at locations throughout the city. The shoes will be sent to needy children and adults around the world.
Fischer said having Give A Day week as the lead-up to the world-famous Kentucky Derby Festival will help put Louisville’s caring deeds in the spotlight.
“We know very well the importance of volunteers and we’re very excited to have ‘Give A Day’ as part of the official Festival schedule,” said Mike Berry, President and CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival.
Fischer urged people to look for creative ways to be compassionate and help others, including donating their professional talents. Specific activities planned for the week include:
- The Louisville Digital Media Association will mount a “Geeks Giving” campaign to raise funds for Ipads to be used by persons with autism through the local Apple Patch group
- The freshman class at the UofL School of Dentistry will work with students at St. Nicholas Academy to raise awareness about the importance of good dental health
- Volunteers will help Louisville-based Supplies Over Seas (S.O.S.) sort and package medical supplies and equipment to send to needy countries.