WESTERN TREASURE VALLEY

A long list of volunteer projects were put on hold in the Western Treasure Valley when COVID-19 burst onto the scene in 2020. This year, many of those projects were tackled as Community Serve Day returned on April 24.

Serve Day is coordinated every year by the nonprofit organization Better Together, Inc. In an email to the newspaper on April 27, organization president Tammy Vogt said that no records were broken but neither was the spirit of the event.

“The rain held off and our teams were amazing!” wrote Vogt. “As our volunteer coordinator Evelyn Dame said, ‘Glad to be part of a caring community, willing to give of their time and talents to make where we live, work, and play a better place — we are truly better together!’”

This year saw nearly 750 volunteers young and old take on 75 projects across six communities, according to Vogt. The record, set in 2019, was more than 1,000 volunteers and 100 projects.

As Vogt noted, the pandemic meant that only outdoor projects could be completed.

“We had significant growth of volunteers and projects in Payette and Fruitland this year under the direction of their Serve Day Community Leads: Shelly McGehee and Shawna Pierson,” according to Vogt. “We also welcomed new growth for Serve Day in Weiser and Vale. Community Serve Day was honored to partner for the first time with the Vale Community Coalition and was very excited to have Mayor Tom Vialpando join our leadership team as Community Lead. The Vale volunteers showed up in force and accomplished many projects within their community laying a strong foundation to build upon in years to come.”

There was a lesser Serve Day presence in Adrian and Nyssa; however, Vogt said leaders from those communities have reached out to her for participation in 2022.

“We estimate approximately 2,250 hours of community service not counting the months of service those on the leadership team gave to plan and organize this event. The Community Serve Day leadership team is a passionate, service minded team made up of the board members of Better Together, Inc., Project Evaluators, Volunteer Coordinators, Community Leads, Supply Coordinators, Command Center Lead, and supporting roles/positions. Without this team and their commitment to months of preparation and organization, this event would not happen.”

Vogt named several examples of projects completed by volunteers: Painting a house for a disabled woman, doing yard projects for the elderly, painting city parks, landscaping for schools and cleaning up area greenbelts were all on the list.

“My heart is full of gratitude for every individual who stepped forward to serve. As individuals, we may have some strength, but we can accomplish so much more when we work side by side. We are better together!” added Vogt.

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