Volunteer Fairfax registered a record number of participants in Saturday’s VolunteerFest event with over 1000 volunteers serving in-person or working at home to make donation kits and projects for area nonprofits. This year’s event also included a special kick-off ceremony held at the Fairfax County Government Center. This event was focused around a Remembrance Ceremony presided over by Volunteer Fairfax’s CEO, Steve Mutty, and included remarks by public safety officials and dignitaries including Assistant Fire Chief Jason Jenkins, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, US Congressman Gerry Connolly, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graces and Garrett McGuire, Regional Director AT&T, VolunteerFest’s Presenting Supporter. Additional activities at the kick-off included Chalk4Peace, an arts-based youth project to celebrate messages of peace, a gratitude station for public safety officials, and a food drive to benefit Food for Others (part of FC Stuff the Bus campaign).
At-home projects were again a big hit this year, appealing primarily to students looking for ways to give back even when sports, family, and school commitments sometimes cause conflicts for attending in-person events on a Saturday morning. We received some very positive initial results from our nonprofit partners on the quality and quantity of donations received as a result of VolunteerFest.
“Just incredible news! Our South County Alexandria site was flooded with donations on 9/11. So many Volunteer Fest donors dropped by. A total of 146 Homeless Survival Kits were donated yesterday. Every single homeless participant was able to take a kit with them when they left. They are all thrilled and touched that so many people care for their well-being! Some were moved to tears. I cannot thank you enough. What a special experience for all of us! Thanks, to each of you!!” – Monika Taylor, Director of Outreach and Development, Recovery Program Solutions of Northern Virginia who had a virtual project for volunteers to complete toiletry/care kits for their homeless populations.
Once again, volunteers also turned out in large numbers to make fleece blankets for our furry friends at Homeward Trails Animal Rescue in Fairfax and we had entire classrooms of FC School children sign-up to make welcome cards to clients entering transitional housing.
This year, we also had great outdoor clean-up and beautification projects happening across the county including educational opportunities for storm drain labeling and invasive plant management. We also had a number of new partners join us with Fairfax County schools’ Get2Green garden projects. Get2Green is the environmental stewardship program for FCPS. Volunteer Fairfax worked with FC teachers and project leads from Volunteer Fairfax to bring these projects to the community at large. Volunteers supported efforts to get school gardens back on track after a year of neglect while most students learned from home last year. We had hundreds of volunteers weeding, filling flower beds, and planting fall crops for these wonderful school learning gardens.
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