As part of an annual extravaganza of compassion and service, thousands of Louisvillians will be volunteering in ways large and small during the Mayor’s annual Week of Service, which runs Saturday through April 23.
One of the week’s largest projects will be the Brightside & Passport Health Plan Spring Community Wide Cleanup on Saturday. Already, more than 16,000 people are committed to making Louisville a greener and cleaner community, by picking up litter and debris from neighborhoods, greenspaces and roadways.
And there is still time to register: Go to www.brightsideinc.org. With the help of sponsors Passport Health Plan and the Kentucky Pride Fund, Brightside provides bags and gloves to all participating groups, and T-shirts to the first 5,000 registrants.
Mayor Greg Fischer will kick off this sixth annual Give A Day week with a 9 a.m. stop Saturday at the Build A Bed event at Meyzeek Middle School, where hundreds of volunteers will work in teams to build beds that will go to Jefferson County Public School children who are sleeping on couches, air mattresses or even the floor.
Other Saturday events include a 3 p.m. bicycle giveaway to refugees at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, thanks to volunteers from Pedal Power; and huge community cleanups and picnics in the California, Parkland and Shelby Park neighborhoods. (Similar events are planned in the Smoketown and Shawnee neighborhoods on April 22.)
The Mayor’s goal for the week, which helps launch the 2017 Kentucky Derby Festival, is to break Louisville’s existing “world record” for caring and helping – set in 2016 with more than 175,000 volunteers and acts of compassion.
“When we decided six years ago to start to focus on celebrating and cultivating compassion as one of our city’s core values, the people of Louisville responded, demonstrating over and over again that this is a city where people believe in the value of doing what our great native son Muhammad Ali called ‘the work of the heart,’” the Mayor said. “That work happens every day in this city. Give A Day simply shines a spotlight on it.”
The Mayor pointed out that participating in the Week of Service can be as simple as dropping food into the Dare to Care bins at all area Kroger stores.
And for the second year in a row, the international WE Day will, in partnership with the Mayor’s office and WLKY, hold a short Walk of Compassion through downtown as a Give A Day event on April 18. The public is invited to join more than 3,000 students participating in the lunch-time walk, carrying signs of compassion.
Students from both private and public schools are a huge component of Give A Day. JCPS’ students will be planting trees, collecting items for local food pantries, organizing campus and neighborhood cleanups, writing thank you cards to police and veterans, and collecting teddy bears for police to have in their cruisers when they make runs on cases involving children.
“We are proud to once again have 100 percent participation from our schools in the Mayor’s Give A Day initiative,” said JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens. “Last year, our students logged more than 1,145 days of service – that’s more than three years of kindness, service and citizenship in just one week. This experience gives our students a chance to give back to our community and participate as citizens in our diverse, shared world.”
Most local Catholic schools are also engaged in projects. St. Stephen Martyr, for example, is making care packages for cancer patients, filling decorated bags with things like hard candy, pocket tissues, hand sanitizer, lip balm and small packages of snacks. And fifth-graders at Holy Trinity will be visiting and playing games with residents of the Masonic Home.
Local businesses are also a huge part of the Week of Service, as companies large and small contribute their time, talent and treasure on projects throughout the community.
Volunteers are still needed for more than 100 projects of all kinds. To register, go to the website: www.mygiveaday.com and click on “volunteer for an existing project.”
Groups and individuals are urged to use the same website to report projects and good deeds they are doing on their own.