THATCHER — When it comes to keeping the volunteer spirit alive and matching organizations with people willing to serve, a pair of Gila Valley institutions are doing their part.
This fall, thanks to some young volunteers from Eastern Arizona College, Meals on Wheels received more than 125 grocery bags of canned goods for its senior clients. And on JustServe.org, a Church of Latter Day Saints-created website, Project Luke was given a place to list its volunteer needs.
“We really try to promote service,” said EAC Student Activities Facilitator Patti Wren, who works with the college’s six student government officers. “The college encourages volunteerism by supporting everything that we decide to do as a student government.”
Wren also advises the EAC Ribbon Club, which strives to bridge the gap between college and community through service. On Halloween weekend, club members went trick-or-treating for canned goods. Their haul was donated to South Eastern Arizona Community Unique Services for its Meals on Wheels program.
“We collected over 125 bags of canned goods,” Wren said, “and some of them were so full, the bags were tearing.”
“If anybody needs volunteers, we want to put it out there,” said Jessica Sandeno, public affairs director for the LDS Safford Stake and a member of JustServe.org’s local coordinating council.
JustServe.org (https://www.justserve.org) is a Church-created website that lists service opportunities with organizations like Southeastern Arizona Clean and Beautiful or New Life City Church, which hosts Project Luke.
“I think we’ve really got a great variety of projects,” Sandeno said.
“It’s an opportunity for people to just look if they want to do service in the community,” she added. “This time of year, it’s a great need.”
“The spirit of service is that you gain nothing from it,” said EAC Intertribal Club adviser James Pryor.
The club’s annual Day of Champions, where members serve a variety of community projects, grew from a handful of participants in 2011 to 233 this year.
“When you’ve got college students working hard to further community service projects, I think that’s a pretty cool concept,” Pryor said. “The students show up because they’re proud to be a part of it. They’re proud to give back and help serve the Gila Valley.”
Follow David Sowders on Twitter @david_sowders