Year 17 was prime!

It was a topnotch year, even by our high standards! It wasn’t just the 175 volunteers who cheerfully spent time organizing, raking, cleaning, cooking, grooming, sewing, and many other acts of service, or the hospitality of the agencies who welcomed those volunteers. It wasn’t just the $5,000 that we raised (with help from Herman Miller Cares) for new programming at Camp Sunshine, or the three large boxes of bras, panties, and p.j.s that you all donated for Holland Rescue Mission’s clients, or the way so many people contributed raffle items when we put out the call. All those things certainly made it a success! But for us this year, it was also the evidence we saw of the event’s ripple effect.

Here’s one example: A Community Action House representative called a donor not long ago, and discovered that the person had first become familiar with Community Action House through Women’s Service Day. She’d had a good experience and wanted to give it additional support. Now that person is a donor and a volunteer throughout the year.

We believe this happens a lot, but hearing about it was really exciting for us!

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Thank you for participating! Thank you for flexing when the circumstances required it–and for flexing muscles you may not be used to using. Thank you for your willing hearts and your enthusiasm. Remember: It’s October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so please consider giving just a little more, this time to the Breast Care Fund.

You’ve probably seen the video from that day, but if you want to see more photos, check out the album on our Facebook page over the next week or so.

We’re already looking forward to next year, and we hope you are, too!

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Thanks!

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this year’s success (especially whoever order the perfect weather)! The final numbers aren’t in yet, but about 175 volunteers served at 17 agencies across Holland and, with support from Herman Miller Cares, raised more than $5,000 for Camp Sunshine! We also collected bras, underwear, and children’s pjs for Holland Rescue Mission. Your generosity in terms of time and money is overwhelming and inspiring, every single year!

How did the day go for you? If there’s anything you’d like us to think about for next year’s event, please tell us!

We’ll do a wrap-up post next week, but for now, here’s a sweet video from WSD paparazzi member, Kallie Spidahl.

 

What to Expect on October 4

October 4 is next week already! We are so excited to see all of you for another day of making our corner of the world just a little better. Here’s what to expect.

For a morning or all-day session, plan to arrive at your worksite in Holland at 8:30 a.m. For an afternoon session, plan to arrive at Hope Church by noon, where we’ll gather for a celebration lunch (for which we ask a $5 donation).

We’ll be holding a raffle to help support new programming from  Camp Sunshine, which provides camp experiences for adults with developmental disabilities. And we’ll be collecting donations of new (with tags on) bras, women’s underwear, and children’s pajamas for Holland Rescue Mission, a non-profit shelter that seeks to meet the needs of men, women, and children in West Michigan. Bring your donations and your checkbook!

Hope Church has a parking lot, but if it is full, you may also park across the street to the north at First United Methodist (57 W. 10th Street, between Pine and River).

See you next week!

Questions?

E-mail the Women’s Service Day Planning Committee or visit our 2018 Event page.

Calling all bras, underwear and children’s pajamas! (as long as they are new!)

The mission of Women’s Service Day has always been to serve women and children in Holland. Toward this end, we’re collecting the following for Holland Rescue Mission.

  • Bras (any size and style, including sports bras)
  • Women’s underwear (teenagers and women)
  • Children’s pajamas

The Holland Rescue Mission is a non-profit shelter that seeks to meet the needs of men, women, and children in West Michigan. It serves about 350 women every year, and each woman who comes to Holland Rescue Mission is provided a bra and underwear in her size. It serves about 200 children, and each child gets a pair of pajamas.

Please consider helping out by taking advantage of any sales you see in the next two weeks and buying those items. Also, let us know about those sales and we’ll spread the word!

Then bring what you buy (and/or collect from colleagues if you’re coordinating a donation drive) to the WSD luncheon at Hope Church on October 4; if you can’t make it to the luncheon, you can still deliver donations there that day. Thank you in advance! Our volunteers are the best!

 

Invite your friends and colleagues to participate!

Are you in a book club, running group, or part of any other small group or large team with women who want to make a difference in their community? Consider asking them if they want to participate in Women’s Service Day!

Ask them at your next meeting, send them an email, or share information about the event via Facebook and Twitter. You can also send their email addresses to the Women’s Service Day Planning Committee and we’ll add them to our mailing list. If you’d like other information to help spread the word, such as newsletter announcements, and posters, let us know!

In addition to volunteering at a number of nonprofit agencies in Holland (here’s a list of places we’ve volunteered in the past), we’ll be holding a raffle to help support new programming from  Camp Sunshine, which provides summer camp experiences for adults with developmental disabilities. And we’ll be collecting donations of new (with tags on) bras, women’s underwear, and children’s pajamas for Holland Rescue Mission, a non-profit shelter that seeks to meet the needs of men, women, and children in West Michigan. So even if the group you have in mind can’t volunteer on the day of the event, think about organizing a group donation of new bras and undies! (No used items, please.)

Women’s Service Day originated from the spirit of giving among a group of women who recruited their friends and colleagues to help build a home for a single mom. We’d love to engage more women from our community to offer their time and talents, working side-by-side with women who want to make a difference.

Look for sign-up information shortly after Labor Day. We hope to see you–and your friends–at Women’s Service Day on Thursday, October 4!

Where We’ll Serve in 2018

Sign-up is still a few weeks away (look for the email shortly after Labor Day), but here is the list of agencies to-date who are looking forward to our help this year.

  • Arbor Circle provides responsive and compassionate services to individuals, families, and communities, including counseling, early childhood programs, Great Start Western Regional Resource Center, parent and family support and education, foster care, and adoption. Volunteers will prepare for a fundraising event, making nametags, organizing silent auction items, and more.
  • Benjamin’s Hope is a “live, work, play, worship” organization addressing the multifaceted needs of adult individuals and families affected by autism and other intellectual and developmental differences. Volunteers will do outdoor maintenance (or deep cleaning houses if weather is inclement).
  • Camp Sunshine provides summer camp experiences for adults with developmental disabilities, which also supplies respite for their caretakers. Volunteers will do a variety of office tasks.
  • Center for Women in Transition strengthens West Michigan families by responding to, reducing, and preventing domestic and sexual violence against women, men, and children. Volunteers will prepare materials for the Girls on the Run program.
  • Children’s Advocacy Center does abuse prevention and intervention using a coordinated and multidisciplinary approach. Volunteers will wash windows!
  • Community Action House provides area families and individuals with food, clothing, shelter, and opportunities to build necessary skills to achieve a stable and prosperous life. Volunteers will sort clothes and donations.
  • Day Center of Evergreen is a state-of-the-art adult day health center offering nursing care, social services, nutritious meals, and therapeutic activities for adults requiring assistance. Volunteers may help with crafts, visit one-on-one, and/or lead Bingo.
  • Holland Area Arts Council educates, engages, and challenges the community through the arts. Volunteers will organize the basement and/or kitchen.
  • Holland Rescue Mission develops and delivers programs for the homeless and less fortunate. Volunteers will clean, paint, do yard work, sort donation items, and organize displays.
  • Hope Pkgs provides “first night bags” of essential items (e.g., pajamas, socks, underwear, toothbrush and toothpaste) for kids entering foster care. Volunteers will help shop for items for the backpacks for the children. (There is no cost to the volunteers.)
  • Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity builds housing with partner-owners based on the principle that everyone deserves a decent place to live and that our community is a better place when that occurs. Volunteers will do construction.
  • My House Ministry provides a safe place for women to transition into independent living. Volunteers will do a variety of tasks: yard work, crafting supplies for a fundraiser, organizing the basement, installing insulation, and deep cleaning in the houses.
  • Nestlings Diaper Bank serves as a central location to collect, store, and distribute diapers that have been donated by the local community or purchased through fundraising efforts. Volunteers will wrap diapers for distribution through area nonprofit organizations to mothers in need, organize, and stuff envelopes.

Do you work with or volunteer for another agency that serves women or children in Holland and Zeeland? It’s possible that we’ll be able to add to our list, since our volunteers are many and enthusiastic. If you’re aware of an agency or nonprofit project you think may be a good candidate, use our contact form to let us know, providing contact information for our follow-up. Agencies must provide supervision, supplies, and equipment (beyond readily available items women are likely to have on hand), and because Women’s Service Day is a one-day event with volunteer organizers, a requirement for background checks is difficult to accommodate.

17 Reasons to Save the Date: October 4

Landscaping as part of the 2016 event.

This year will be the seventeenth year of Women’s Service Day, which will be held Thursday, October 4, 2018. In honor of those years, we’ve put together a list of 17 reasons why you should save the date:

  1. To help women and children in our community
  2. To see old friends
  3. To make new friends
  4. For the blueberry crisp served at lunch
  5. To learn a new skill
  6. To get a good night of sleep after a day of manual labor
  7. Because you have to use those volunteer hours somewhere
  8. For the chance to win cool stuff in the raffle
  9. To soak up the energy of 200 other women volunteers (and maybe a few good men volunteers, too)
  10. To set a good example
  11. It could boost your happiness, according to research
  12. For the opportunity to learn about what agencies are doing in our area
  13. To use gifts and talents that you don’t get to use while sitting at a computer
  14. It’s a great chance to network
  15. It’s a good excuse to get out of work for a day, or half a day
  16. It’s another chance to wear your cool WSD 15-year anniversary T-shirt or hoodie
  17. To be the change you want to see in the world

For now, all you need to do is mark October 4 on your calendars, and maybe tell a few friends. We’ll send more details as the date approaches.