Volunteer opportunities are abounding

Dec. 05, 2012 @ 05:37 PM

In Vance County, opportunities to give back to those less fortunate abound during the holiday season.
Whether services are offered through volunteer work, or with a simple donation, giving back to the community during Christmas is an ethical choice for many.
According the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of 16- to 25-year-olds volunteering was the lowest of seven different age groups between 2007 and 2011.
Last year 24 percent of U.S. volunteers were made up of people 65 and older, as compared to 22.5 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds.
The opportunity for high-school age students in Vance County to help those less fortunate goes no further than the doorstep of the schools they attend.
A Salvation Army canned food drive is taking place at all 16 schools in Vance County’s public school system through Dec. 14.
“Typically the Salvation Army uses the donations to put in holiday gift bags,” said Terri Hedrick, the school system’s public information officer. “They serve nearly 600 families in this four-county area, and I’m sure quite a few have children in our schools.”
Thursday through Saturday, simply sitting down to a meal at Ruby Tuesday will help raise funds for Henderson Collegiate, a public charter school in Vance County.
The school operates by relying on funding from grants and private donations to supplement public funds. Additional funding helps pay for services such as transportation.
Charter schools in North Carolina do not receive funding for busses. Henderson Collegiate busses students to school daily and must cover associated costs with private funds.
In Henderson Collegiate’s “GiveBack” fundraiser, an available flyer can be turned in with the bill on any of the three days, and 20 percent of the proceeds from the meal will be returned to Henderson Collegiate as a donation.
“Flyers are available on our website,” said Caitlin Dietrich, director of development at Henderson Collegiate. “You can also get them off our Facebook page, or come by the school and pick them up.”
After the first of the year, Franklin-Vance-Warren Opportunity, Inc. and Vance County Department of Social Services will be opening a Women’s Economic Equity boutique.
“We’re going to need volunteers to be image consultants and career coaches,” said Jennifer Gregory, director of family resources and special projects. “It’s not a clothing closet.
“It will be limited to new and gently used professional attire that’s suitable for an interview. We’re also accepting medical uniforms or scrubs.”
Currently, donations are being accepted for clothing items, and can be dropped off at 155 West Andrews Avenue, in Henderson.
Interested volunteers can call the Family Resource Center at (252) 431-1400.
Clothing donations can also be made at Melinda’s Closet on Hillsboro Street in Oxford. The store’s second annual coat drive is going on through Dec. 31.
Customers who bring in reusable coats of any gender or size will receive 15 percent off the purchase of a new coat or winter accessory.
All coats brought in for discount or donation will go to the local Church and Community Missions.

Contact the writer at amauser@hendersondispatch.com.