Everyone has the power for greatness ...
because greatness is determined by service.
--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In This Issue
Join Us Jan. 18 for MLK Day of Service

MLKDayMake Monday, Jan. 18--Martin Luther King Jr. Day--a day on, not a day off! Honor Dr. King's life and teachings by taking part in Montgomery County's MLK Day of Service 2016, which will feature a wide variety of service projects suitable for all ages and ability levels at the following locations and times. Sign up today by clicking the link for the site that suits you! 
Projects will vary by location. One big and new project this year is an opportunity at the North Bethesda and Silver Spring sites to help put together 100,000 meals for Manna Food Center to distribute to local families in need. This project is in partnership with the nonprofit Outreach Program and made possible by the sponsorship of Fund for Montgomery and the Governor's Office on Service & Volunteerism. Other planned activities include creating fleece blankets for Montgomery Hospice and Syrian refugees, making paracord bracelets for members of the military, assembling snow day boxes for Meals on Wheels, decorating cards for seniors, and packing care kits for foster childrenAll activities are pre-approved for MCPS Student Service Learning hours. 

In addition, all three locations will serve as collection sites for non-perishable food donations for Manna Food Center (highlighted in the spotlight below), and the North Bethesda and Silver Spring sites will also be accepting new and gently used sleeping bags, blankets, and new socks for the homeless.

Looking for more--or on a different day that weekend? Check out these additional opportunities to serve: For even more ideas, explore the many service opportunities listed on our website calendar for that weekend, and be sure to check back to see new projects added. 
Manna Food Center Strives to End Hunger

Manna food drive
Manna will hold food drives at Giant Food Stores throughout the county over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend
Hunger is a complex issue, especially in Montgomery County. While this is one of the most affluent areas of the country, one in three county public school students receives free or discounted school lunches--and the need doesn't end there. Many Montgomery residents require food assistance, including seniors, those fleeing domestic crises, the intellectually and physically disabled, and the working poor.

That's where Manna Food Center comes in. Since 1983, Manna's singular mission has been to eliminate hunger in Montgomery County through food distribution, education, and advocacy. Manna provides food to nearly 40,000 individuals each year via a network of distribution sites throughout the county. In addition, Manna distributes food to soup kitchens, food pantries, and emergency shelters county-wide. Plus, thanks to Manna's newest program, Community Food Rescue (CFR), the organization is able to rescue even more food. CFR enhances the good work of businesses, individuals, and organizations that already recover and redistribute perfectly good food to people experiencing hunger by identifying new donors and systematically matching all rescued food to the most suitable recipients.

Manna could not do this work alone. The organization relies on collaborators from every corner of the community--from corporations to nonprofit entities to individual volunteers and donors. In fact, Manna depends heavily on the support of volunteers. Last year, volunteers donated more than 70,000 hours of service--equivalent to the work of 34.5 full-time staff. With only 24 employees, that means volunteers more than double Manna's capacity to help those in need.

Volunteers seem to appreciate the opportunity to help just as much as Manna values them. As one recent volunteer noted, "My wife and I have been volunteering weekly to help in the warehouse. Staff there are very nice and we meet different people every week. It's fun and very meaningful, and I encourage everyone to join the effort to fight hunger."

There are regular opportunities to support Manna by volunteering your time, but the organization is particularly in need of help with the following:
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Food Drive: Help collect food at Giant Food Stores throughout the county over MLK weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 16-17. Shifts are available 11 am-2 pm and 2-5 pm, and advanced registration is required. Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult age 21 or older. This opportunity is approved for SSL hours.
  • Food Distribution: Help with a variety of tasks geared toward creating boxes of fresh food, including making boxes, sorting and packing food, and loading food into client cars. Volunteers are needed weekdays between 9 am and 3 pm, and serve at Manna's warehouse in Gaithersburg. Minimum age: 17. This opportunity is also approved for SSL. 
  • Community Food Rescue Network: Be a food runner! Volunteers are notified of rescue matches through a web application and transport donated food from food businesses to recipient food-assistance organizations. Volunteers must be 18 or older and have a vehicle, a good driving record, and auto insurance. This opportunity is not available for SSL hours.
Visit Manna's website to learn more. 
Tax-Aide Volunteers Serve Lower-Income Residents 

Looking for a seasonal commitment that provides vital help to the community? The RSVP/AARP Tax-Aide Program, which offers free tax preparation assistance for low-to-moderate income taxpayers (with special attention to those age 60+), seeks client facilitators/greeters to serve at various sites throughout the county, as well as schedulers to work at the Holiday Park Senior Center in Silver Spring. 
RSVP--the Retired Senior Volunteer Program--is a program of the Montgomery County Volunteer Center.

This is a particularly great opportunity for seniors interested in daytime volunteering for a limited time period, but is open to all. Training is provided in mid-January, so be sure to sign up soon. 

Visit the link above or call 240-777-2610 for more information.
Is Volunteering on Your New Year's Resolutions?
If so, get started right here! Below are just a few of the opportunities listed on the Volunteer Center's website. Check our calendar of events for more date-specific opportunities, our newest listings for those posted most recently, and use the red box on our home page or at the top of this email to search for more ongoing opportunities. 
SSL Icon
Denotes opportunities that are pre-approved to provide MCPS Student Service Learning (SSL) hours. Many are great opportunities for adults too!  

SSL IconLitter Removers: Saturday, Jan. 9, 10 am-12 noon, Bethesda. Enjoy the great outdoors while helping to clean it up by participating in a MoverMoms trash pick-up walk along Sangamore Road. Volunteers under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Email Debra Lang or call 301-792-3708.

SSL Icon Auction Event Team Members: Friday, Jan. 15, various shifts 11 am-12 midnight, Potomac. Help the Brain Aneurysm Foundation with its annual fundraiser by assisting with set-up, serving as an auction "runner," and interacting with guests.  Additional opportunities available to help with organizing in advance of the event. Email Cara Weiss or call 301-351-2100.

SSL IconTheater Ushers: Fridays and Saturdays, Jan. 15-16 and 22-23, 7-10 pm, and Sundays, Jan. 17 and 24, 1-4 pm, Rockville. Smile, hand out programs, guide people to their seats, and then enjoy the show, Lend Me a Tenor at the Rockville Little Theatre. Email the volunteer coordinator.

SSL Icon MLK Service Weekend Volunteers: Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, Jan. 16-18, throughout the region. See list of opportunities above

Career Fair Participants: Saturday, Jan. 16, 12:30-3 pm, National Press Club, Washington, DC. Share your professional experience with motivated, low-income youth at a career fair organized by Capital Partners for Education. Volunteers will talk with students about their personal career journeys, the types of jobs available in their fields, education and skill requirements, and ways to start working toward their career paths. Email Christopher Lockwood or call 202-682-6020 x 230.

SSL Icon Men's Shelter Dinner Providers: Monday, Jan. 25, 4:30-6:30 pm, Silver Spring. Help MoverMoms make, bring, and serve dinner and a beverage for 30 residents of a men's shelter. The shelter would also appreciate provisions for a light breakfast the following morning. Minimum age: 10. Volunteers under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Email Debra Lang or call 301-792-3708.

Homeless Shelter Assistance: Set up cots, serve meals, clean up, assist with tutoring and job search, and supervise residents at a temporary winter shelter for women and children operated by the House of Divine Guidance. The shelter runs daily through Feb. 13, possibly longer, rotating every two weeks from Silver Spring/Takoma Park to Gaithersburg. Volunteers are provided training and sign up for one or more of the following shifts: 6:30-10 pm, 10 pm-4 am, or 4-7:30 am. Email Dr. Donna Robinson or call 240-888-6775.

SSL Icon Teen Peer Mentors: Serve as a role model and facilitate social and communication connections among participants in ArtAbility, a multi-genre arts experience for middle school students on the autism spectrum, who explore drama, movement, music, puppetry, and visual arts. The program is part of a partnership between Glen Echo Park and Imagination Stage. Teen mentors--students in 10th-12th grades--must attend training on Saturday, Feb. 6, and be available to volunteer at least two out of four spring sessions, offered weekend mornings, February through May. Learn more at an information session Thursday, Jan. 7, 6:30-7:30 pm, at Glen Echo Park. Email Meredith Forster or call 301-634-2223.
Snow Shovelers: Clear snow from driveways and sidewalks of homes serving people with disabilities after major storms. Organized by CALMRA Inc., which provides services to people in Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Email Nancy Tolbert or call 301-982-7177.

SSL Icon Hospital Helpers: Greet patients and visitors, provide administrative support, and/or serve as a liaison between families and medical staff at Medstar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney. Visit the hospital's volunteer web page, email volunteer services, or call 301-774-8629.

Pre-K/Kindergarten Teachers: Lead one-hour evening lessons for young children atStepping Stones Shelter's Bright Beginners program, held Mondays and Thursdays, 7-8 pm, through June. Volunteers are not required to work every shift, but should have early childhood education experience, preferably with underprivileged populations. Email Sara Ritchie-Helmuth or call 301-251-0567.

SSL Icon Museum Greeters: Answer questions, give directions, provide orientation for large groups, and offer advice to visitors at the National Air and Space Museum. Student volunteers must commit to 50 hours of service per year; adults must commit to 100 hours per year and undergo a background check. Visit the museum's volunteer web page, email the volunteer coordinator, or call 202-633-2514.

SSL Icon Food Drive Volunteers: Assist with food drives for low-income residents of Montgomery County organized by Women Who Care Ministries. Drives are held in Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Bethesda on Saturdays and Sundays. Volunteers sign up for four-hour shifts and must attend a one-hour training in advance. Email Chantal Edwards or call 301-740-2777.
Who Will You Nominate for Montgomery Serves Awards?

Know any amazing volunteers? It's time to start thinking about which ones to nominate for the 2016 Montgomery Serves Awards. This annual honors recognizes service in the following categories:
  • Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award, for lifetime service by residents age 60 and up
  • Youth Achievement Award, for extraordinary volunteerism by residents 18 and under
  • Corporate Award, for outstanding volunteerism by a corporation
  • Community Service Awards, for extraordinary volunteerism by an individual or group
Nomination forms are now available online and are due on Friday, Feb. 26, at 5 pm.

Award recipients will be honored at a gala ceremony the evening of Monday, May 2, at Imagination Stage in Bethesda.
Volunteering, by the Numbers

The Corporation for National & Community Service has released its annual survey on volunteerism in the United States, revealing that 63 million Americans volunteered nearly 8 billion hours of service last year--valued at $184 billion. In addition, the survey showed, more than 138 million Americans--63 percent of us--volunteered informally in their communities in 2015. 

The survey also provides data ranking volunteerism by state, large cities, and various populations, including teens, veterans, and older Americans. Get all the stats here.
Make a Difference

Check out Make a Difference, a County Cable Montgomery public access television program that highlights the contributions of volunteers and organizations that contribute to the good of our county. The most recent episode showcases the Volunteer Center's Kim Hodges discussing this month's Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Click here to watch the episode and other recent airings.
Subscribe to Our Partner Newsletters

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center is part of the Office of Community Partnerships, which works to strengthen the relationship between the Montgomery County government and the residents it serves, with special emphasis on underserved and emerging communities. Subscribe to the monthly OCP newsletter to keep up these activities. 

Follow these links to subscribe to our other partner agencies' electronic publications:
Montgomery County Volunteer Center - Office of Community Partnerships volunteer@montgomerycountymd.gov |www.montgomeryserves.org
12900 Middlebrook Road
Suite 1600
Germantown, MD 20874
 (240) 777-2600