More than 400 volunteers gathered on Saturday, Oct. 27, to do good throughout local neighborhoods during the 12th annual Make A Difference Delaware County (MDDC) — the county’s single largest day of volunteering.
Volunteers of all ages and abilities started the day at Camp Lazarus in Delaware or Jessica Forman’s State Farm Insurance Office in Sunbury, both serving as the kickoff locations for the event. Following breakfast and a briefing, volunteers were dispatched to 81 locations throughout the county, which mainly consisted of the homes of older adults and nonprofit locations including The Arts Castle, Common Ground Free Store, HelpLine, Humane Society of Delaware County and The Women’s City Club.
Brad and Haley Schellin of Grace Powell Church coordinated a group of nine adults and six children, ranging from ages three to seven, and appreciated being able to do a group activity that kept everyone involved.
“It was a perfect location for us and the kids,” said Brad Schellin. “The older adult we served had candy for the kids and water. By the time we left, she was walking us down the driveway. It was awesome! We will definitely be back next year and would love to be assigned to her house again.”
First-time volunteer Keri Robe, who attended the event with her family, said MDDC inspires a sense a gratitude and is an eye-opening experience to the need in the local community.
“Make A Difference Delaware County is an event my family has wanted to participate in for the past several years, however, scheduling conflicts never allowed us to until this year, said Robe. “What a heartfelt experience for not only me, but my 8-year-old son as well. It is a reminder of how fortunate we are to have our family, home and health, and more importantly, provide a helping hand to another family right here in our own community. (While) driving back to turn in our paperwork, my son asked if we could go back to the same house next year.”
The Robe family was among several other families and individuals that visited the homes of 55 older adults and 26 nonprofits. Volunteers completed tasks such as raking leaves, washing windows, removing overgrowth, and collecting trash and debris. Other groups that participated in the day included faith-based, scouting and school groups, such as Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU), which leverages the day to mobilize over 200 students who are a part of Greek letter organizations for a day of service.
A Delaware resident since 1947, Marjorie Factor, 91, is a direct beneficiary of the day as volunteers washed windows and spread top soil over plant bulbs at her home.
“I love having someone come help me as I’m almost 92 years old,” said Factor. “I just do whatever I can myself, but with them helping me, it’s just wonderful. I appreciate all of this and thank everyone very much for all they do for me.”
In total, an estimated 1,045 hours were contributed to this year’s MDDC, which is valued at $25,080 to the community, according to Connections Volunteer Center, which organizes the annual event.
Colleen Dennis, MDDC coordinator, said she is encouraged each year by the turn out and the impact made through the event.
“The enthusiasm and energy that these volunteers bring is amazing,” said Dennis. “Contributing a few hours on a Saturday morning may not seem like much, but our volunteers allow older adults to safely stay in their homes as many don’t have family around to help with these tasks. Nonprofits can continue to focus on providing supportive services to people in our community. In all, these efforts ensure that we can create a culture of volunteerism and collective sense of pride, which is what makes this event so special.”
The 2018 MDDC sponsors were Camp Lazarus, Coss & Dowdell, Home Depot, IRONMAN, Meijer, Modern Woodmen, Richwood Bank, SourcePoint, State Farm, TOPS of Delaware, United Way of Delaware County, Walmart and Yum-ee Donuts.
For more information about 2019 MDDC, contact Dennis at 740.363.5000 or visit ConnectionsVolunteerCenter.org.
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