Big Day of Service
If You Had $500 and 20 Volunteers, How Would You Improve the Community?
FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - Answers to that question from Fair Oaks and Orangevale residents will determine what community service projects hundreds of volunteers will pursue during a “Big Day of Service” later this year.
What began as a casual social media chat a few months ago has blossomed into plans for the “Big Day of Service” on May 5, a grass-roots event that organizers hope will benefit both recipients of services and volunteers who will enjoy the satisfaction of personally helping improve their communities.
Preparations are under way for at least 25 teams, each with 10-50 volunteers, to pursue projects that residents of the two communities help identify.
“We hope to unite the community around the idea that we can all make things better by working together,” said County Supervisor Sue Frost, one of the event’s sponsors.
The event has garnered significant financial and in-kind support from Frost, the Community Foundation of Orangevale and Fair Oaks, local residents, businesses, schools, churches and civic organizations.
Thus far, possible project ideas range from planting trees to preparing care packages for overseas troops; room makeovers for terminally ill children; repainting fire hydrants; youth groups visiting nursing or memory care home residents; cleaning up litter; distribution of toiletries and other necessities to the homeless; and creating community gardens.
“There are so many needs and opportunities to improve our community. Imagine what we can accomplish with hundreds of neighbors coming together in service with many families serving together,” said Brad Squires, the community foundation’s chairman. “Communities get better when they serve together. We hope to create a ripple of kindness and a wave of good deeds throughout our community.”
The Big Day of Service will begin Saturday, May 5, with a pancake breakfast and kick-off rally where volunteers can meet others and get together with their teams to receive instructions before leaving to begin their neighborhood projects. At the end of the day, a group celebration is also being planned.
The rally’s location has not yet been determined, but throughout the day it will be the site of a Community Service Fair offering some on-the-spot services along with some on-the-spot opportunities to give back to the community in some way. For example, a family receiving services such as free haircuts, food, clothing or eye exams might want to give blood or write encouragement cards for military families and food bank recipients; or volunteer to work with one of the many local community service organizations represented at the fair.
“We’re adapting the concept of ‘take what you need, give what you can’ to give those receiving services the opportunity to give back to the community as well,” said Jadie Huegel, the event’s marketing coordinator.
In a few months’ time, the core group of event planners has expanded from a handful to over 30 community leaders and supporters pledging their services. Attendance at two recent community information meetings bolstered event planners’ hopes of attracting 500 or more volunteers.
“I honestly believe the Big Day of Service will be the largest and most unifying event to ever take place in Fair Oaks and Orangevale,” said Jeff Pitnikoff, who helped envision the event and is the executive director of AboutKidz, a community service organization. “Unity is something that improves and enriches community. Now more than ever before we need to elevate and celebrate the things that unify us.”