Last January, I received a new church public affairs assignment.
One of our first decisions was to encourage the members of our church to dedicate a day to serve.
We explored the various needs in our communities.
After reviewing some startling hunger statistics, we decided to focus on the needs of those who are considered “food insecure.”
One in four Americans don’t know where their next meal will come from.
11.8 percent of people in Virginia, one in six people in Maryland, a surprising 27.4 percent in the nation’s capital,
and 21 percent of children in West Virginia live in families that cannot afford food
We reached out to the Governors of Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia and the Mayor of Washington, D.C. and asked for their support.
They eagerly jumped on board.
They issued proclamations declaring September 29 as a regional Day to Serve.
They reached out to their community faith groups and asked them to join us by organizing and/or participating in service projects to benefit the hungry.
Governor O’Malley in Maryland set a high bar by sending out letters to over 30 faith groups who all wanted to help.
We have held weekly meetings with our planning committee, which includes representatives from our church and representatives from the Governors’ and Mayor’s offices.
Each week, there is more to report.
More people are catching the vision.
More people want to help.
In West Virginia, all the football games played this Saturday will include food drives.
In Virginia, there are soccer games, 5K races, grocery store food drives, clean-up activities and more.
In D.C., there are “pack the pantry” projects to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank.
In Maryland, there are activities to clean up the environment and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay, and feed the hungry.
Enthusiasm is building for what will be a historic, unprecedented regional day to serve.
We set up a website at daytoserve.org and asked every organization sponsoring a service activity to add a pin to a google map.
If you go to the site, you’ll see a packed map, full of activities in this wide swath of the country, all designed to feed the hungry or serve the community.
In fact, we maxed out the number of pins allowed on a google map.
We are now in the process of redesigning it to accommodate all the projects that haven’t made it on the map yet.
Every day the snow ball gets bigger with more activities, more donations, and more people gearing up to serve.
If you’re not sure, how to help, go to the website, click on a pin in your community and show up.
Everybody is welcome and everybody is needed.