Summer of Service Volunteer
My daughter Catie and I had a lot of fun doing some volunteer work at the Utah Food Bank with United Way of Salt Lake’s Summer of Service program! The fun started right away with the kids donating coins by playing with the coin racer. Next we got to be in a group photo with all the other volunteers. From there we broke up in to 3 different groups and we got to go on a tour of the facility. Our tour guide, Jordan, gave us a very informative tour where we learned that they used to offer handyman services and other things like that before they decided to focus solely on food. The kids got to see the kitchen where meals for the kids cafe are prepared then we proceeded upstairs to check out the conference room that had pictures of some of the places that Utah Food Bank sends the food for distribution. Thankfully, Jordan knew that the kids needed a quick break so they had about 30 seconds of free time where they got to run around and scream. It was fun to watch the kids jumping around and doing cart wheels.
From there we got to check out the warehouse and see all of the boxes of food they had. We learned that last year the Utah Food Bank sent out 34 million pounds of food to various agencies and that they send out food 16 times a year! The kids were very impressed with that and understood that was a lot of work. On the wall above the office there were many large checks. Jordan told us about the largest one that they had ever received–$700,000 from Walmart! They received this check because last year Walmart held a contest to see what city could get the most likes on Facebook to win a million dollars for the Utah Food Bank. I remember voting for Salt Lake City and was excited that we won!
Next we went to the sorting room and got to sort through very large boxes of donations to smaller boxes so that the contents could be sent out. I think this was the kids’ favorite part because they got to climb into the extra large boxes and hand out the food! The parents then got to sort them out into the smaller boxes. I like to sort things so I thought this was a lot of fun. It was hard work but there was a lot to do and I’m not sure we made a good dent!
After that we took our turn coloring boxes. During our tour we learned that one of the programs they offer is food delivery to those that can’t come in themselves. To make food delivery more enjoyable, volunteers color the boxes. Catie liked that because she said it would make someone feel better. I hope that we will be able to go back and help out again soon. Thank you to United Way of Salt Lake for the opportunity!
by Heather Thomas and Family
Guest Bloggers, Summer of Service Volunteers
Thank you to Heather and her family who participated in our last Summer of Service volunteer project! If you are wondering why it is so great to get your kids involved in volunteer work, just read their experiences below!
Hannah Minor, Age 14
“This summer I had the chance to do service with United Way of Salt Lake. It is a great experience that all of my family and I got to share. At first I didn’t have the best attitude about being there because it was summer and I felt that I had other things that I could be doing like hanging out with friends. When I got to the very first activity I saw that we were going to be packing books for children that didn’t have the money to buy them on their own. I realized how much it probably would help them and I started to feel better about being there. At the end of the first activity after all of the work I felt good, like I helped someone that wasn’t as fortunate as I was. I knew that what I did was much more productive than what I would have been doing if I wasn’t there. It made me feel good that I had made a difference in a child’s life. I am grateful to United Way for providing that experience for my family and me, and that I got to understand the importance of service.”
Darby Mecham, Age 13
“I am so glad I had the opportunity to volunteer for United Way because it’s nice to just take a break from life and help others. To not have to worry about any of my problems and to help other people overcome theirs is nice and inspiring. Being able to help others in such a simple and convenient way is an opportunity that no one should pass by. The United Way does an excellent job of making sure it is a fun family activity. Also, I am glad that children get to participate because it just makes it that much more fun. They don’t know what they’re doing, and why, but when they’re older they’ll be grateful that they learned to help others. I am so glad I got to volunteer with United Way of Salt Lake.”
Sadie Mecham, Age 10
“I went to a service project one Saturday morning at United Way of Salt Lake. I didn’t think it would be much fun until I started. We made little packets that had all these papers in them. Although they were easy to make they where fun because of all the happy and smiling faces. I also got to draw pictures to encourage kids to do a good job in school or to read. It was a great feeling to know I helped someone or encouraged him or her to read, but now I want to do a service project everyday.”
Wyatt Mecham, Age 6
“I really liked that we helped people this summer. When I help people it makes me feel happy that we are helping kids that don’t have as much as I do. I hope that when they get the books that we packaged for them that they will be able to be better readers and learn about things they really love to do.”
United Way of Salt Lake and 2-1-1 are sponsoring one more volunteer project this summer at the Utah Food Bank on Thursday, August 9th from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. Then, join us for our Recognition Event on Saturday, September 8th at Junior Achievement City at the Gateway Mall from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
For more information, please dial 2-1-1 or visit our website!
by Becky Figlioli
Guest Blogger, Summer of Service Participant
We are mid-way through our summer…and keeping five kids busy, entertained, and productive can occasionally become a little daunting. However, we were able to find a great opportunity that was wonderful for all of us at the United Way of Salt Lake! As part of the Summer of Service program for youth, we volunteered for a couple of hours on Saturday, July 14th. We spent our time assembling brochures and coloring pictures that will be used in a later project.
All of our kids had an absolute blast! Our youngest three love to color. They had so much fun drawing and scribbling pictures for others. My oldest two really enjoyed helping assemble the brochures that will be distributed to businesses. They kept looking for more to do and were sad when we were done. They kept commenting about how much fun they were having. The time just flew by.
As a mom, I am glad that we were given the chance to get involved in the community. It is so important to help my children understand that they are part of something more than what they see and do in their own little worlds every day. It was a fun opportunity to teach them about contributing, working, and making new friends. They not only enjoyed the work that they were doing, but they enjoyed interacting with the fantastic United Way of Salt Lake employees and the other volunteers. I am so grateful for the opportunity that we were given to serve as a family (particularly with our little ones), help in the community, and just have fun! Thanks United Way of Salt Lake!
The next Summer of Service project will be held on Thursday, August 9th, at the Utah Food Bank. 1:30 p.m – 3:00 p.m.
Then, join us for the United Way 2-1-1 Summer of Service Recognition Event on Saturday, September 8th at 11:00 a.m. at Junior Achievement City at the Gateway!
Dial 2-1-1 for more details!
by Sarah Trescott
Website Development Director
Last week we kicked off our Summer of Service with a volunteer project preparing books and materials for KSL’s Read Today Family Book Festival. United Way 211 Volunteer Center is committed to helping kids get up, get out, and get involved volunteering. Summer of Service is a great way to keep busy this summer and make a difference in our community at the same time.
Our kick-off project was a lot of fun. Kids were able to stuff book bags and draw cards encouraging their friends to read. It was fantastic watching all of the kids get into both projects. The thought and detail these kids put into the cards was inspiring. The cards said things like: “Reading is good for your brain,” “superhero’s read books,” or “reading makes you feel on top of the world.” It was also a blast watching the kids stuff the book bags. One little volunteer was only a tiny bit bigger than the bags he was carrying, yet he was determined to do a good job and help out.
United Way of Salt Lake really believes that everyone has a part to play in making a difference in our community. And it was so wonderful to have a way for kids to be a part of this great work!
You can find more information about Summer of Service at uw.org!
by Bailee Rae
Guest Blogger, Summer of Service Participant
I’m Bailee Merrill, 14 years old, and last week I helped at the Summer of Service volunteer opportunity where we helped KSL prepare books and materials for their Read Today event! There were two things to help with–coloring cute cards that encouraged reading, or putting children’s books into bags for them! I honestly had a blast. Writing all those cards and reading cards made by other kids helped me realize how important reading really is! Kids drew comparisons between watching T.V. and reading a book. In my opinion, reading is much more fun! There are millions of fun books to choose from that are great reads! Most things on T.V. are filled with garbage and you get scared or embarrassed when one of your siblings or kids sees something bad. With books, it’s different. There’s such a variety that you can choose from, and I always enjoy books.
Another thing I realized was how happy the people that put it all together were! They really loved all the great stuff they’re doing for the kids that are getting these books, and I noticed how they all socialized and were happy about the work. Service projects make you feel good about yourself, because you’re doing something GREAT. More people should participate, because it was a lot of fun!
You can help at the next Summer of Service volunteer opportunity!
Afternoon in the Courtyard with United Way of Salt Lake - Help United Way of Salt Lake advance their education, income, and health priorities with service projects, crafts, and music at the United way of Salt Lake office courtyard!
Thursday, July 14
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
UWSL Courtyard | 257 East 200 South