Last week we had more than 150 phone calls in response to our public service announcement on the radio alerting people who may need holiday assistance to call us NOW. The Salvation Army’s sign up was last week and Toy Lift’s deadline to return vouchers through the schools is November 13.
We had calls from all over – Nelson, Louisa and Fluvanna counties as well as Albemarle and the City of Charlottesville. Several people told us it was the first time they had asked for help. I spoke to one woman in Nelson who told me that in past years, her family had reached out and purchased gifts through the Angel Tree program, and she could not believe that this year she was the one asking for help due to her husband’s job loss.
Because we referred so many people for food assistance, we heard back from agencies like Love Inc. and the food banks that they did not know if they would be able to fulfill all the requests. So we changed our focus to asking the public to reach out and help not only during the holidays but all through the winter. The best place to find all the opportunities to help is on our Volunteer Center’s website, www.cvillevolunteer.org.
But we also got creative and called on our friend Don Rich of Seg-Ville to loan us a couple of his Segways for a fun and high-visibility way to get information into people’s hands. We made up signs for the Segways and postcards telling people how they can GIVE, ADVOCATE and VOLUNTEER. Then Caroline Emerson and I spent the morning gliding around the U-Hall parking lot, Barracks Road and the Corner greeting people and sharing the postcards. Some folks were suspicious, but most were happy to have specific information as to how they can help.
We could not have asked for a nicer November day to be out and about, and it goes to show that helping others can be fun, too.
Posted by Kim Connolly.
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