It is an exciting time. Tomorrow, June 21st, is the 10th annual United Way Day of Action, an event that mobilizes the caring power of volunteers to make a meaningful impact in more than 400 communities around the world. While United Ways in each of these communities will provide a variety of ways to volunteer, this year’s focus is on summer learning and food insecurity because too many kids fall behind academically and go hungry when school’s out.
Increasing learning opportunities and access to food during summer months is part of United Way’s strategy to help kids succeed in school, work and life. In celebration of Day of Action, more than 600 Staples associates in 31 communities across the U.S. and Canada will produce and distribute 1,700 literacy kits to children with limited access to books at home. In Orlando, Heart of Florida United Way is hosting a two-month book drive that has brought in over 60,000 books in the past three years, and a day full of literacy-related volunteer activities. Halfway around the world, United Way Mumbai will be mobilizing more than 300 corporate employee volunteers to donate books, read or tell stories and be part of fun-filled activities to instill the values of reading and education among more than 800 children from struggling communities.
Other United Ways are focused on making sure children and their families who rely on school food programs during the school year have access to nutritious meals during the summer months. United Way of the Greater Triangle will mobilize volunteers to pack and distribute weekend meal packs for 1,500 children in Durham, North Carolina. United Way of Bucks County in Pennsylvania also is leading a high-impact hunger event: volunteers for Bucks Knocks Out Hunger (BKO) will pack 100,000 shelf-stable meals for people in need. Other volunteers will harvest produce for area food pantries from Del Val University’s garden. In Jacksonville, United Way of Northeast Florida is hosting food giveaways in five different neighborhoods across Duval County, targeting students and families who are part of United Way’s Full Service Schools initiative.
And because any group of caring people can make an impact, United Way of the Ozarks is sponsoring the single largest one-day, community-wide volunteer event in Southwest Missouri. Local businesses and organizations take part by coordinating teams of employees to spend a day giving back to area non-profit agencies. Last year, over 2,000 volunteers from about 150 businesses and organizations completed nearly 300 projects at more than 100 non-profit agencies and schools in 10 counties.
United Way Day of Action is happening all across the world on or around June 21st. It’s not too late to get involved this week, or any time of year. Contact the United Way in your area to see how you can take action to improve your community -- in person, online, one day or many days.