Volunteers are truly the lifeblood of Norfolk and Northeast Nebraska.
“We are people who care” was the headline atop a Daily News story on last month’s Project Homeless Connect in Norfolk. While that was plainly evident at that particular event, that headline would have worked on countless other stories across the region.
Nationwide, more than 30 percent of Americans take the time to volunteer, according to the 2018 Volunteering in America report released by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps and Senior Corps.
Nebraska exceeds the national average with 40.1 percent of the population volunteering. That’s admirable, but that still means 760,000 people around the state aren’t volunteering.
Americans in Utah report the highest rate of volunteering (51 percent), holding the top spot among states, followed by Minnesota (45.1 percent), Oregon (43.2 percent), Iowa (41.5 percent) and Alaska (40.6 percent).
Just in the past month, look at these events in Norfolk that rely on volunteers:
— Project Homeless Connect: This year, the one-day event attracted 100 volunteers, but event coordinator Lacy Kimes said the event could have used double that. Among the volunteers were the Junior Optimists Club, The Zone, Stanton football team, Norfolk Catholic Schools, Pink Panthers, Norfolk Rescue Mission and Employment Works.
— Boomfest: Norfolk’s 44th annual fireworks show, which attracted more than 30,000 people to Skyview Lake, had between 140 and 160 volunteers helping with set-up, detonation and cleanup efforts.
— Music in the Park: Around 35 volunteers help the Norfolk Rotary Club bring Music in the Park to Skyview Lake during the summer months, with the latest one earlier this week. The Civil Air Patrol also has helped with parking and handing out brochures at the event.
And there are countless other events, groups and opportunities throughout the year, not just in the summer months.
Volunteering takes many forms: Raising funds for nonprofits; food donation and meal preparation; transportation and labor support; mentoring young people; and lending professional and management expertise.
We are called to serve others, and that’s been more than evident around here. Help strengthen the bond we have in America by volunteering of your time to make a difference.