Need: Volunteers and sweat equity to accomplish much-needed projects at non-profits, schools, and parks for the city
Resource: ServErie’s volunteer force of thousands of willing hands and hearts
ServErie Saturdays occur a few times a year. We equip volunteers from schools, churches, businesses, and communities to serve non-profits agencies across Erie County.
As a result, many volunteers connect non-profits they have a passion for and volunteers also build relationships with new individuals.
In 2009, an Erie native, Clara Ward, had the opportunity of a lifetime. Clara was known for her generosity and selflessness – she ran a youth development non-profit called Clara’s Way out of her home that was falling apart – cracked foundation, leaking roof, and a damaged sewer line. Not to mention, she suffers from a degenerative muscular disease and is confined to a wheel-chair and did not have a ramp to enter her home.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition got word of her story and came to town to change her history forever. She became an Erie sensation. Clara’s incredible determination to serve others before herself even when she had a great need sparked awareness throughout Erie County. Why can’t our community do this for non-profits? Can’t we start an initiative that provides volunteer help and skilled labor? We have willing hands, willing hearts, and plenty of need – but where do we start?
They started with non-profits that already devoted the majority of their time and resources to helping others. What was once one non-profit and one church has since grown to serve over 60 agencies. .
Paint, Yard clean-up, Organize, Clean, Neighborhood clean-ups, Ramps, Small projects
The agency communicates their need and our volunteers fulfill the need. At one point, ServErie asked agencies whether their greatest need was help with fundraising efforts or they would prefer if a volunteer force to their time and sweat equity to complete projects they already had funding for. Unanimously, the answer we received was volunteers.
ServErie Saturdays block off a window of time from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm. All the volunteers gather at a local church around 7:30 am or 7:45 am to get registered, drink some coffee and have some light refreshments, and mingle with other fellow volunteers, and then find their site leader.
At 8:00 am, a ServErie member will kick-off the event with a brief presentation and a pastor will pray over the day. Shortly after, site leaders and their group of volunteers will launch to their sites to work on their projects.
At 12:30 pm, all volunteers return back to the launch site and the day in complete.