October 6, Women’s Service Day, was a gorgeous autumn day in West Michigan–perfect for painting. Which was a good thing, because a lot of painting got done. And scraping, spackling, organizing, raking, weeding, mowing, planting, hauling, building, baking, crafting. That’s what we’ve noticed in the 10 years Women’s Service Day has been happening: When women sign up to help, a visible difference is made in the community!
This year, Women’s Service Day celebrated its 10th anniversary with a focus on neighborhood revitalization.
It was a collaborative effort with Good Samaritan Ministries and New Community/Fourth Reformed Church to create opportunities for volunteers to work side-by-side with Holland’s Westcore Neighbors to prepare a vacant house in the City of Holland for renovation. The result will be a neighborhood center called Nuestra Casa/The Gathering Place, which we hope will create “pride of place” for residents who live among so many abandoned homes.
In addition to onsite work at Nuestra Casa, volunteers assisted with fundraising activities as well as projects that supported Westcore neighbors. The spirit of revitalization permeated the neighborhood! Crews were also assigned to local nonprofit agencies that have come to depend on our annual event. They include: Holland Rescue Mission, Hospice of Holland, Evergreen Commons, Girls on the Run, Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity, and 8th Day Farm. We also assisted a couple whose lives have been turned upside down because of cancer.
What did the volunteers accomplish?
- Electrical wires, nails, and debris were removed from the Nuestra Casa house in preparation for renovation, and landscaping was done in the front of the house.
- A house was scraped and painted–all in one day.
- A ramp was built for a disabled neighbor who was dependent on his son to carry him in his wheelchair down his front steps.
- Numerous home improvement projects–scraping, caulking, spackling, plastering, trimming, mowing, and weeding–were accomplished in Westcore Neighborhood.
- 115 dozen pig-in-blankets were made as part of a fundraising activity.
- 100 cards were made for Hospice of Holland to send to volunteers who provide their services.
- 300 Halloween treat bags were assembled to hand out to children in the Westcore Neighborhood on October 31.
- Our silent auction, raffle, and pig-in-blankets fundraiser brought in $2400 for Nuestra Casa.
- 10 boxes of children’s books were collected for the future Nuestra Casa library.
- Extra chili, cornbread, and apple crisp from our lunch fed the hungry at Community Kitchen in Holland.
This card made by a crew on Women’s Service Day sums up our gratitude.