Mayor rallies community for annual Give A Day
Mayor Greg Fischer today joined representatives from Metro United Way, Jefferson County Public Schools, GE Appliances, the Kentucky Derby Festival and a variety of volunteers to kick off the annual Mayor’s Give A Day with support from Metro United Way. This year’s Give A Day is a full month of giving, kicking off April 1 through April 30, 2021.
“COVID-19 forced us to cancel last year’s Give A Day, among so many events and gatherings,” said the Mayor. “The virus also forced us to isolate from one another, but at the same time, it showed us how much we mean to each other, how interconnected we are, and how good it feels to not only receive compassion, but to give it to others as well.”
Give A Day started as a one-day service opportunity in 2011, and then grew to a week, and in 2019, it spanned 10 days. The city set a new world record in 2019 with 235,000 volunteers and acts of compassion. This year’s Give A Day has been expanded to a full month in celebration of National Volunteer Month and to allow non-profits and volunteers more time to plan and participate in safe service projects.
With support from Metro United Way and community organizations throughout the city, hundreds of volunteer opportunities will be available. Group and individual projects will be offered, some may be virtual, while others will be in-person in compliance with CDC and KY Department of Health COVID-19 guidelines to protect the health and safety of participants, and many will be outdoors.
“Although the focus is on this month of service, we're proud to support our community in solving problems through volunteer service all year long and grateful to all those who helped us deliver more than 5 tons of needed supplies to frontline organizations and individuals during 2020,” said Theresa Reno-Weber, President and CEO, Metro United Way. “As a part of our ongoing work, we are excited to again serve as the backbone of Mayor’s Give A Day by connecting volunteers to meaningful opportunities in creating a stronger, more equitable community. This year, we continue to see a surging need and we want to continue to connect people and partners with the resources, passion and expertise required to help those most in need - that's at the heart of what we do at Metro United Way.”
Metro United Way supports the volunteer engagement platform for the Mayor’s Give A Day by connecting those who need help with those who want to help.
A sampling of this year’s projects and initiatives include:
- Thousands of volunteers will join together throughout April to pick up litter and beautify the city through the Brightside Community-Wide Cleanup, one of the largest Give A Day service projects. All cleanup group participants will receive a reusable Brightside face mask in addition to cleaning supplies. Residents also can organize their own clean-ups on streets and in neighborhoods with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers.
- The 9th Annual WE Day Kentucky Celebration will take place online, April 14th. Normally welcoming 2,400 students and teachers to The Kentucky Center for a celebration of students' commitment to service and over 4,000 for the WE Walk for Compassion, this year's online celebration will feature the greatest number and diversity of students ever. WE Day Kentucky 2021 "Change is Gonna Come - How Will You Make It Happen?" will be educational, inspirational and will highlight the youngest generation. This year’s Call To Action will focus on food insecurity, encouraging all participants to collect and donate food to local organizations of their choosing.
- Presbyterian Center USA will again bring together hundreds of volunteers to assemble hygiene kits for individuals impacted by disasters in the United States and abroad.
- American Red Cross Blood Drives: During the last year, the American Red Cross has been testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. In addition to providing individuals and public health organizations more information about COVID-19, the antibody tests have been helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and who are qualified to be convalescent plasma donors. The Red Cross has an ongoing need for blood and platelet donations. Make an appointment to give blood or platelets during Mayor’s Give A Day at RedCrossBlood.org.
- Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) will offer a variety of projects to help residents who are experiencing food insecurity:
- Student volunteers can put together “Snack Kits” to be distributed to community partners like the Hope Collaborative and Boys and Girls Club locations.
- Volunteers can help stock a newly installed neighborhood pantry at Minors Lane Elementary, 8510 Minor Lane.
- Volunteers are also needed to make sack lunches for homeless outreach efforts. RAK provides 175 sack lunches every Wednesday for homeless outreach.
- Participants are needed for the Dinner On Us Project, which includes making dinner baskets as an encouragement and a ‘thank you’ to local healthcare heroes. Visit com for details on each project.
“Give A Day is really a community-wide effort and that absolutely includes our private-sector, which provides so many of the volunteers that make these projects a reality that improve the lives of people in our city,” said the Mayor.
While this year’s Give A Day will look different, companies and organizations of all sizes will still have employee teams safely in action, including GE Appliances, Brown-Forman, KFC, University of Louisville, Presbyterian USA, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and more.
“At GE Appliances, we’re powered by inspiration, innovation and a vision to not just build the world’s best appliances, but to build stronger communities. That work starts here in Louisville, KY, home of our global headquarters,” said Katina Whitlock, Senior Manager, Community Engagement, GE Appliances. “Through our Corporate Citizenship efforts, our employees have volunteered over 15,000 hours helping community partners complete 75 projects. Participating in the Mayor’s Give A Day is just another way we demonstrate and reflect our desire to strengthen the communities where we live and work.”
Mayor Fischer noted one critical component of Give A Day Week has always been the involvement of Louisville youth. “It’s essential that we teach students the value of compassion. And that’s just as true, maybe more true, in challenging times.”
In 2019, 60,000 Jefferson County Public Schools students and teachers joined thousands of private and Catholic school students for service projects.
“We appreciate the thousands of hours local volunteers have spent helping out JCPS schools and their neighborhoods as part of the Mayor’s Give A Day initiative,” said JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio. “It’s also a great opportunity each year for our students and staff to give back to the community that so often steps up and supports our school district.”
Andrew Dunn, JCPS student and Founder of RAK, said his organization and volunteers have created more than 21,000 “Snack Kits” since March of last year and have distributed them to local youth organizations. “I never thought that this very simple and easy volunteer opportunity for students and families would become so essential,” said Dunn. “Several organizations have asked us to continue providing the kits when schools start in-person learning. When students put together the kits, they include snacks that are popular with other kids, which is one reason this has been such a success.”
The Mayor said great partner organization, Kentucky Derby Festival (KDF), knows how to galvanize Louisville’s community spirit and how to attract and keep great volunteers. This year, KDF will be offering an opportunity for a volunteer to win a special Festival gift package including a framed 2021 Derby Festival Official Poster and a $100 gift card for Derby Festival merchandise. The lucky winner must register at mygiveaday.com to volunteer for a project by March 25 to be eligible to win. (One (1) package will be given away.)
“Working together our community does incredible things and Give A Day is a perfect example of that,” said Matt Gibson, President and CEO, Kentucky Derby Festival. “The Festival could not produce our events without the support of volunteers. While 2021 will be different, we hope everyone will help us share that Derby Festival and Louisville spirit we’ve all been missing.”
Individuals or groups wanting to find a project should visit mygiveaday.com, where projects and needs submitted by local non-profit agencies and other groups are listed. The Mayor urged individuals and companies to also use the website to report their own community service.
2019 Give A Day week of service — Notable Numbers:
- 327,699 total volunteer hours given to projects during Give A Day Week 2019
- 38,000 pounds of food donated through Kroger and Dare to Care food drives
- 17,456 Brightside volunteers cleaned up neighborhoods and parks in Louisville
- 4,400 thank you notes written by Global Game Changers
- 198 units of blood donated at Red Cross blood drives
- 158 beds built for JCPS students