That day is nearly here again. It is less than a week away, the fourth Saturday in October, the national day of doing good.
If you’ve lived in this part of the country for more than a year, you will know what this means. If you don’t, you may be spending too much time on the couch. The fourth Saturday in October is Make A Difference Day, when untold thousands of people across the country, including thousands in North Central Washington, go forth with one simple goal: to do something, small or large, that makes a difference in our community or the lives of the people in it. It is nothing less than a massive outbreak of simple selflessness. In large organized projects, or small single-handed spur-of-the-moment good deeds, people expend energy in service to their community or fellow human beings, with no expectation of reward other than satisfaction. For 23 years running we have come out of the fourth Saturday in October a better place than when we went in. We came out better not just for the tangible things, what the volunteers actually did, but simply because Make A Difference Day happened. The infectious, golden spirit of giving unleashed by Make A Difference Day really does make a difference.
In 23 years the concept is unchanged. “See a need, do a good deed,” is the complete set of instructions. Groups or individuals dream up a project. They seek out fellow volunteers or support. They often register their project idea on the Make A Difference Day website — wenatcheemkdd.com — to add to the list and spur added support. Or, go to the website to find a project in need of volunteers, something that inspires you, helps someone you know, or simply strikes your fancy. This year many will gather at the Pybus Market Saturday at 8 a.m. for a kickoff and brief organizational session before heading out.
The project list is endlessly inventive and inspiring. For instance, the Junior Service League Diaper Drive will be collecting donations of diapers, formula and wipes for families in need at local groceries and even at the Wenatchee Wild hockey game. You can clean sculptures for Art on the Avenues, spruce up a trail with the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, donate a bicycle to Bikes For Kids, winterize Camp Zanika Lache, help fix the Ballard Park gazebo with the East Wenatchee Kiwanis, clean up East Wenatchee’s Japanese garden, assemble bedroom furniture for homeless teens at Solomon’s Porch, paint the porch at Haven of Hope, dig in the dirt at Ohme Gardens, help clean up Ferry Street or the Salvation Army Lodge. This is just a sampling. For more ideas see wenatcheemkdd.com or see Friday’s Neighbors section in The Wenatchee World.
Wenatchee is very nearly the first Make A Difference Day city. It was 23 years ago we won the first Make A Difference Day national award, inspired by sisters Margie Kerr and Betsy Tontini. There have been many awards since. In better than two decades not much has changed. The value of giving, the ability of people to serve a need, the vast power of collective action, universal truth that we should do for others as we would have them do for us, the idea that a community can be a better when we gather to serve the greater good … it’s all in play on Make A Difference Day.
This coming Saturday, make a difference.
This is the opinion of The Wenatchee World and its Editorial Board: Publisher Rufus Woods, Editor Cal FitzSimmons and Editorial Page Editor Tracy Warner.