COLUMBIA — Central Missouri Community Action is calling for volunteers to participate in this year's Martin Luther King Day of Service by donating an hour or two to help their neighbors.
This year's program hopes to directly connect community members and service providers throughout the year, not just on one day. It is open to anybody who is willing to help.
If you are interested in donating your time, you can telephone Kelley Lucero, Community Action volunteer coordinator at 443-1100, Option 8 or send an email to her are Kelley-Lucero@showmeaction.org
The initial idea came from Kelley Lucero, the volunteer coordinator.
"I want to come up with a way to let the community help the community," Lucero said. "People get together on Martin Luther King Day to give help, but there you are, the rest of the year." So she decided to make the program more flexible and last through the year.
The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the president's national call to service initiative.
Like all other Community Action programs, this one is also designed to help people achieve self-reliance.
Lucero said she received a phone call last year from her fellow employee, asking if any volunteer could help a person with a disability in Jefferson City to fix a hole in the roof.
"I couldn't think of anybody that could help," she said.
That is one of the reasons that this program is about donating time and services, not parts or materials. "People could give an hour or two of their life to make another person's life better," Lucero said.
Needed services include but are not limited to snow shoveling, auto repair, haircuts for those going to job interviews, carpentry and home repairs, appliance repairs and lawn care and maintenance.
To date, Community Action has received a commitment of about 300 hours of service from 125 to 150 individuals and businesses in all eight counties it serves. From Boone County, it has received commitments for approximately 50 hours of services, with the majority of commitments coming from businesses.
The group began gathering these commitments at the beginning of November. If there are enough commitments, the program will last throughout the year.
"I have a sense that our services will go quickly," Lucero said. "It's like a drop in the bucket compared to thousands of people we serve. But this is our first year. I have big hopes. Hopefully, there will be more."
Lucero said her fellow employees work with many people and know families they serve very well. They will refer those in need to her to sign up for specific services from the program. In case there are not enough services, "first needs will be served first."
"I wish one day too many services will become my problem. I hope one day I can get enough services to share with everybody and other charity organizations. I will keep trying every year as long as I'm still here." Lucero said.