On the fourth Saturday in October, millions of Americans and thousands of Minnesotans will unite to do good for others on Make A Difference Day. The nation’s largest day of community service has been celebrated for more than 20 years. Originally started by USA WEEKEND Magazine in collaboration with Points of Light, an organization dedicated to volunteer service – Make A Difference Day is about volunteers coming together regardless of age, location or resources who accomplish great things when they take on the problems in their communities.
This day of service which falls on Oct. 25 this year, is incredibly inspiring to see in action. The Make A Difference Day website mission statement says, “Make A Difference Day is the largest single-day of volunteering in the country. No matter who you are or where you’re from, everyone has the power to do something that improves the life of another. Whether it’s starting a project that helps one person or working on one that benefits a whole community, every contribution makes a difference.”
If taking part in this sort of community volunteerism appeals to you, there are many opportunities throughout the Twin Cities to lend a hand. I’ve listed a few of these opportunities below.
• KARE 11 has partnered with 3Mgives and HandsOn Twin Cities and is inviting the public to volunteer at North Mississippi Regional Park from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
• Local nonprofits, Cheerful Givers and Kids ‘n Kinship are partnering at Thomson Reuters headquarters in Eagan from 9 to 10 a.m. to assemble 3,000 toy-filled birthday gift bags for less fortunate children in the community.
If helping out in your community on Oct. 25 doesn’t work with your schedule, there are many other ways you can give back. In fact, there are websites dedicated to matching people with the causes they care about. Visit http://www.volunteermatch.org/ to find volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood that match your interests or area of expertise. Other options include calling
your local school district and volunteering to work with students or read to a class.
Another volunteering option to consider is lending a hand at local homeless shelters or soup kitchens. Unfortunately, the homeless population in Minnesota has risen dramatically since the recession and helping those who don’t have a home is a great way to make a difference.
Regardless of how you pitch in to help your community, making a difference even in a small way and even for a single person, is a worthy effort. As the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan is quoted saying, “If we are to make poverty history, we must have the active participation of States, civil society and the private sector, as well as individual volunteers.” In honor of Make A Difference Day, I urge my constituents to join in and help make our communities a better place to live, work and play.
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions regarding any issue. I encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 651-296-6820.