United We Serve Kicks Off Community Renewal Week

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Jul 20, 2009

Serve.gov website to highlight volunteers battling hunger, homelessness, and poverty

Washington D.C. -- Starting today and lasting through the rest of the summer, President Obama's United We Serve initiative is kicking off a series of issue weeks that will shine the spotlight on Americans who are joining with their neighbors to tackle tough challenges through volunteer service.

The first issue week, Community Renewal, runs from July 20-26 and will highlight volunteer efforts to build and repair housing, clean up streets and neighborhoods, prevent foreclosures, teach financial literacy, and combat hunger and homelessness.

The issue weeks will highlight service projects taking place across the country and feature stories of ordinary Americans making a difference on the new stories of service blog at Serve.gov. Weeks are planned for each of the five United We Serve focus areas: community renewal, education, energy and the environment, health, and safety and security. An additional week will highlight service by people of faith.

“Every day millions of Americans are strengthening their communities through service,” said Nicola Goren, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which is leading the Administration's United We Serve initiative. “By shining the spotlight on their good works, we hope to inspire more people to answer the President's call to service.”

Here are some of the activities taking place during Community Renewal week:

  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Youth Gathering, New Orleans: Nearly four years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is still rebuilding. More than 25,000 high-school aged Lutherans and 8,600 adult leaders from across the country will converge in New Orleans from July 22-26 for a servant ministry that features community service through more than 150 projects, including repairing homes, beautifying neighborhoods, and creating 13,500 back-to-school backpacks to be distributed to every pre-K-3rd grade student in the public school system. (Click here for more info)
        
  • New York Yankees HOPE Week, New York City: On July 20, the New York Yankees will launch HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel); a community program that will feature five volunteer stories intended to inspire individuals into action in their own communities. Each day from July 20-24, Yankees players will go into the community to highlight stories of individuals, families, or organizations making a difference, culminating in a celebration at Yankee Stadium. (Click here for more info)
        
  • Volunteers Repair Homes Across Appalachia, KY, TN, VA, WV: During the week of July 20-26, more than 1,800 volunteers from around the country - mostly youth ages 14 – 18, will help low-income Appalachian families with vital home repairs at 25 sites in four states. The Appalachia Service Project volunteers will replace roofs, secure foundations, repair floors, insulate attics and crawlspaces, build retaining walls and wheelchair ramps, and provide first time plumbing or electricity for more than 400 families. (Click here for more info)
        
  • Government and Volunteers Working Together to Combat Hunger, Cleveland, OH: On July 20, U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan will tour the Cleveland Food Bank, prepare meals in the community kitchen, see the Benefits Bank mobile truck, and highlight the important role of volunteers play in supporting food banks and reducing hunger. (Click here for more info)
        
  • ARAMARK Employees Enhance Workforce Readiness, Baltimore MD: On July 23, more than 125 ARAMARK employee volunteers will create a new workforce readiness room in East Baltimore Development Inc's (EBDI) Community Resource Center. Volunteers will also revitalize the makeshift school currently being used by the community and create an outdoor classroom and playground area to provide the children with a better learning environment. The company is also hosting a community children's book drive help stock the resource center and school. (Click here for more info)
        
  • Operation HOPE Financial Literacy Project, Los Angeles and Other Cities: Throughout the week of July 20 and beyond, Operation HOPE is recruiting volunteers to teach workshops on foreclosure prevention, credit and money management, home-buying, and homeownership in underserved communities. Volunteers also can teach middle and high school students in 15 cities the basics of banking, checking, savings, credit and investment through the Banking on Our Future program. On July 23, volunteers will teach a financial literacy class to 50 teens age 14-17 at the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles Mar Vista Gardens complex in Culver City (Click here for more info)
        
  • Using Volunteers to Increase Participation in Nutrition Assistance Programs, NYC: During the week of July 20-25 and extending throughout the summer, the New York Coalition Against Hunger will engage volunteers in reaching out to individuals and families to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), summer meals, and other benefit programs. (Click here for more info)

In addition to these events, United We Serve will highlight stories of community renewal on its blog at Serve.gov all week. Organizations participating in United We Serve are encouraged to organize community renewal projects and highlight them to the public and media as a way to recruit additional volunteers.

The other United We Serve issue weeks are Education (July 27), Energy and Environment (August 3), Health (August 10) and Safety and Security (August 24). The final week (August 31) will focus service by people of faith and faith-based organizations.

Media Contact

Samantha Jo Warfield
(202) 606-6775
sjwarfield@cns.gov

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