When Barbara Cecie moved from Tennessee to Wenatchee 13 years ago, she was really lonely. So she began to volunteer.
When her mom and stepdad, Jean and Bob Aldridge, followed her a year and a half ago to Wenatchee with her special needs sister, Janice, 56, they continued a lifelong practice of volunteering in their community.
“It’s not easy to make a move, to get out and reach out, but volunteering makes all the difference,” Cecie said. She is helping with the City of Wenatchee’s Special Needs group mural at Walla Walla Point Park, which will be painted all next week (Oct. 21-25) and then dedicated at 10 a.m. on Oct. 26, Make A Difference Day.
Getting involved in the Wenatchee Valley’s 23rd annual Make A Difference Day is simple whether you’re a first timer or seasoned volunteer. If you are new to the Wenatchee Valley, Make A Difference Day offers you a way to connect and contribute to individuals and to your community as a whole.
The fourth Saturday of October has become the largest day of service in the world. The Wenatchee area has been recognized with seven national awards for its variety and scope of work on Make A Difference Day.
This year is no different, with dozens of projects to plug into from East Wenatchee and Wenatchee to Cashmere, Leavenworth and beyond.
Getting together to make a difference with family, a church group, neighbors, friends or co-workers couldn’t be easier. Meet at 8 a.m. at the Pybus Market where a 10-minute kick-off ceremony will be held. You can park your car in the Pybus lot, find your friends, grab a goodie bag, cheer each other on and organize a carpool to one of scores of projects.
Pybus will host several projects such as the swimming suit-clad YMCA Water Lilies who will hand out invitations to their calendar autograph-and-release party in November. Collection bins for many of the donation projects will also be at the market, as well as at other collection points around the valley.
It is easy to donate money or items to one or more good causes. Collections include: food, warm clothing, bikes, diapers, baby formula, cleaning supplies, quilting materials, yarn, blankets, paper products, animal food and necessities, and more. The WRAC has a 60-Day Make A Difference Challenge to get fit and fundraise for local charities.
The Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome Awareness at Walla Walla Park will feature the artists of a new mural created by the Special Needs Social Program. Volunteers are needed for cleanups, including Habitat for Humanity, Disciple House, Salvation Army, Ohme Gardens, Mustard Seed, Ferry Street, Art on the Avenues, homes around the valley and the Camp Fire camp at Lake Wenatchee. You can make Christmas stockings for foster children or make quilts for both veterans and children.
And at the end of the day, if you don’t feel like cooking, you can pick up a pre-ordered chicken fettuccine dinner to benefit New Life Adoptions.
For the latest information about Make A Difference Day, go to the ever-changing website at wenatcheemkdd.com. Projects can be entered there and viewed to see if volunteers are needed. Contact information is listed for each project. Follow Wenatchee Valley Make A Difference Day on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
The public is invited to the last community meeting Wednesday at 4 p.m. at The Wenatchee World, 14 N. Mission St. You can find a project, announce your project, network or gather information.
Laurel Helton is coordinator of Wenatchee Valley Make A Difference Day. She was Wenatchee World food editor from 1983 to 1993.