United Way, SOS seeking volunteers

Published 3:02 pm Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Vicksburg and Warren County have a heart for giving. That was evident last year when United Way of West Central Mississippi took the Day of Action idea and partnered with Crawford Street United Methodist Church’s Service Over Self program to make it a week of action.

“We took the United Way’s Day of Action and when we partnered with Crawford Street, their SOS program was a week-long, so we decided to make ours a week of action,” Shannon Royal, the United Way’s community impact and events coordinator, said.

“June 21 is our United Way National Day of Action. It is the day we stand up for ourselves, our friends and our community to pledge to change the course of our future. United Way World Wide’s Day of Action mobilizes volunteers across the globe. It is uniquely United Way’s National Day of Action, Royal said.

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“It is our day to recruit new volunteers, inspire existing supporters, tell our story and advance our objectives,” she said.

United Way of West Central Mississippi’s Week of Action is an opportunity for United Way to build on their strategies to improve education, financial stability, and health.

“United Way wanted to choose a time that would be “our week” for volunteer engagement. This differs from our Day of Caring, in that Week of Action is a time set aside to display the full power of the United Way’s network, Royal said. “Working with the SOS in assisting others in need is one way to better the common good in our community.”

That partnership continues June 22-26 when the United Way and SOS team up again with volunteers scraping boards, painting walls, putting on roofs, fixing plumbing and performing plenty of other repairs for homeowners who need a little help getting their houses in shape.

“We are seeking volunteers to work alongside this well established youth outreach program to make a difference in our community,” she said.

Most sites are in need of general construction repairs to include painting, roofing, plumbing and electrical work.

We’ll take any help we can get,” Daniel Renfroe from Crawford Street UMC said. “Obviously skilled labor helps, but we’re open to anyone.

A typical workday begins at 8 am at Crawford Street UMC and will end at 4:30 p.m. There will be a lunch break at noon.

SOS on average works on eight to 10 houses at a time during the week.

“It depends on the number of volunteers we get, Renfroe said. “The more volunteers, the more sights we can work on.

“We tend to average eight to 10 homes, but that is based on our volunteer turnout,” he said. “We have a list of up to 15 homes that we know are good candidates and based on our volunteers we have to decide where to cut it off.”

Volunteers can choose to do a morning, afternoon, or a whole day shift and are welcome to volunteer for multiple days.

“We need adults and youth volunteers. We have to have adult supervision at each sight.” he said.

“The United Way has helped us the last couple of years, they’ve been very helpful and supplied some fairly large groups from other companies that have volunteered through the United Way,” Renfroe said.

The individual work sites vary somewhat as to the level of difficulty as well as general work type.

Depending on the house, there is all manner of work to be performed, a lot of roofs, siding repair, erosion problems,” he said. We’ve seen a lot of erosion problems at some of the sites,” Renfroe said.

The United Way is seeking individuals, companies, and youth to sign up.

In order to make sure SOS has enough volunteers for projects they ask that volunteers register in advance. Anyone interested can request further information by emailing shannon@unitedwayvicksburg.org or by calling Shannon Royal at 601-636-1733 or Lee Ann Whitley with Crawford Street UMC at 601-636-5612.