Mayor Rallies Community for "Give A Day" Week of Service, April 18-26
A tractor-trailer load of toys and supplies for school kids in need, bikes for refugees from war-torn countries and a community drive for stuffed animals for kids who have experienced crime, fires or other crisis. Those are some of the projects planned during the fourth annual Give A Day volunteer week April 18-26. The week of service helps launch the 2015 Kentucky Derby Festival.
Last year’s week produced 150,000 volunteers and acts of compassion. Mayor Greg Fischer said this year’s goal is at least 165,000 volunteers, donations and other good deeds. “We’re all busy, but to be good people and good citizens we should make time to help others and improve their lives and our community,” Fischer said. “We’ve added more ways that people can be part of the week – I’d like to see every company, organization and citizen do something.”
New projects and initiatives this year include:
- An entire tractor trailer of toys and school-related supplies will be distributed to school-age children by the Kids Wish Network and its Holiday of Hope Tour, working with JCPS and volunteers;
- Individuals and bike shops can put older bikes to new use by donating them to the Pedal Power Project, providing basic transportation for refugees in Louisville who’ve fled war-torn nations and other calamities. Bikes can be taken to Beargrass Christian Church, 4100 Shelbyville Rd., or call 502-896-1161;
- A special Give A Day eve concert on April 17 will raise funds and encourage volunteers. Alex Wright & The Maven Down, Thirty Spokes and a special guest will perform along with an art auction. 8 p.m. In the Mayor’s Gallery at Metro Hall. It’s a ticketless event, but donations are suggested.
Other ways to be involved include:
- Joining the Brightside communitywide cleanup on April 18;
- Providing a stuffed animal to the Bears on Patrol program at Kosair Charities so kids will have a special friend in times of violence, fire or other crisis. Stuffed animals can be dropped off at all Comfy Cow locations;
- Giving new or gently used shoes to WaterStep, helping fund the Louisville-based organization’s work of providing clean drinking water around the world;
- Donating a dollar while eating at local Wendy’s restaurants, through March 31.
Money raised goes to local non-profits for supplies to make more projects possible during the volunteer week. Individuals or groups wanting to find a project should visit http://www.mygiveaday.com where projects and needs submitted by local non-profit agencies and other groups are listed. Fischer urged individuals and companies to 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 our new world record,” Fischer said. “We connect people with the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done to reach our vision of a community whose people achieve their fullest potential through education, financial stability and healthy lives,” said Joe Tolan, president and CEO of Metro United Way. “We're proud to continue to lead Give A Day volunteer connections because we know that people who share their time and talent are rewarded in so many unexpected ways, and this is how, together, we improve lives in our community and Live United.”
The Brightside cleanup April 18 is one of the most popular ways to participate in Give A Day. Last April, more than 10,500 people helped clean up neighborhoods, schools and parks. Students from Jefferson County Public Schools along with independent and Catholic schools will be tackling projects of all kinds. Last year, JCPS recorded more than 57,000 volunteers and compassionate acts. Area businesses are also heavily involved. Employee teams from companies and organizations such as Greater Louisville Association of Realtors, Hexion, Humana, Louisville Homebuilders Association, Outfront Media, Orr Safety, PGA, Texas Roadhouse, UPS and Yum Brands will tackle a variety of service work.
Fischer said having Give A Day week as the lead-up to the world-famous Kentucky Derby Festival helps residents remember and plan for the service week each year and puts Louisville’s caring deeds in the world spotlight. “The Festival has grown from one event in 1956, to more than 70 events now 60 years later and we’re grateful our volunteer base has grown along with us,” said Mike Berry, President and CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival. “We literally could not produce our events without a large and dedicated group of volunteers. We’re proud to be part of this important initiative.”