Give A Day Week Impacts Louisville With 175,000 Volunteers, Acts of Compassion

April 27, 2016
Give A Day

Annual volunteering event will return, April 15-22, 2017


One woman reported collecting trash in Fern Creek with her sister. Another person said he counseled a person diagnosed with cancer. Some 500 volunteers from Southern Seminary, and nearly 600 Presbyterians broke into teams and flooded the community with acts of service. Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana drew more than 250 volunteers on its own.

Those were among hundreds of projects and thousands of deeds included in a total of 175,000 volunteers and acts of compassion during Louisville’s fifth annual Give A Day week of service which ended April 24.

That number broke Louisville’s own world record of 166,000 volunteers and acts of compassion set last year in April. Mayor Greg Fischer said the projects – large and small – were inspiring.

“Because I’m a data guy, I see the value of counting the volunteers and the specific acts of compassion during the Give A Day week of service every year – the number of trees planted, weeds pulled, bags of trash collected, cans donated,” the Mayor said. “But as this effort has grown, we’re finding that what’s really special is the connections that are made – an individual who finds a charity to help out for Give A Day becomes a regular volunteer. Or a person from one neighborhood helps out in another neighborhood and finds new friends and a reason to go back.

“That is what Give A Day is all about – making connections and helping individuals recognize our interconnectedness. By any measure, it is a huge success.”

The numbers for Give A Day week included more than 56,000 JCPS students, teachers and staff – often entire schools and classes – who were involved in service projects ranging from picking up trash in their neighborhood, to collecting canned goods, to spending a Saturday helping some of the older people in their neighborhood learn how to text and set up voicemail on their phones.

One new element of Give A Day this year is the Videos for Compassion effort, where students are encouraged to post videos of their service work, many of which will be shared during the annual Festival of Faiths in May. Friday is the deadline to post videos, and several schools will be awarded cash prizes that can be used for additional service work.

Nearly 3,000 students took part in WE Day activities during Give A Day week, including the new Walk for Compassion through downtown.

And a record number of people – more than 14,500 – took advantage of the perfect weather to join the Brightside communitywide cleanup removing litter and debris from hundreds of neighborhoods, parks and schools.

Mayor Fischer said he’s already hearing from citizens, organizations and companies making plans for the 2017 Give A Day event. It again will be held the week leading up to Thunder Over Louisville, April 15-22, helping launch the 2017 Kentucky Derby Festival.

“The Kentucky Derby Festival has been a part of the Mayor’s Give A Day Week of Service since its inception, said Mike Berry, KDF president and CEO.  “For the Festival, it is a fitting way to salute the countless volunteers who make our annual celebration possible.  We kick off the countdown to Derby by giving back to our community and its residents.  That is, indeed, a reason to celebrate!”

The Mayor said the success of Give A Day would not have been possible without the support and coordination of Metro United Way, which matched volunteers with needy projects and organizations through the website, “We know far too well that to create change – meaningful, lasting change –  it takes volunteers working together to build a brighter, stronger and more vibrant community where every child and family succeed in life.  Connecting people is at the heart of what Metro United Way does; our mission is  to improve lives and our community by engaging people to give, advocate and volunteer,” said Joe Tolan, president and CEO of Metro United Way.  “We’re pleased to help lead the Give A Day efforts, because we know that great things happen when we Live United!” 

2016 Give A Day week of service -- Notable Numbers:

  • 50,000 – Personal hygiene items donated for the needy through WE Day.
  • 44,064 – Meals packaged by volunteers for Kids Against Hunger.
  • 14,568 – Brightside volunteers who helped clean up Louisville.
  • 11,000 – Calls and social media hits to the WHAS 11 Give A Day Telethon.
  • 400 – Smoke detectors installed by the American Red Cross Louisville chapter.
  • 152 – Boxes of medical supplies sorted by volunteers for Supplies Over Seas, which sends the supplies and equipment to areas in need worldwide.
  • 100 -- Bicycles donated and refurbished through the Pedal Power Project for donation to Kentucky Refugee Ministries’ clients.
  • 100 – Beds constructed and donated to JCPS students through the Build a Bed Program.
  • 10 – Houses renovated and new homes built for needy families by Habitat for Humanity’s Love Your Neighborhood program.