Work outside or inside, make a donation, spend the day or just a few minutes, help a pre-organized project or create your own. It doesn’t matter how small or how large your project is. When it comes to Make A Difference Day, everyone is invited to participate and all projects matter.

The 24th Make A Difference Day in North Central Washington is Saturday, Oct. 25. This largest day of community service in the world is open to anyone who wants to make the place they live a little better.

This year promises to draw thousands of like-minded people to projects and events from Leavenworth to the Greater Wenatchee Valley and on up to fire-ravaged Brewster and the Methow Valley. Food for the hungry is being collected, homes are being restored, homeless shelters are being cleaned and stocked, and medical needs are being met. That’s just a few of the projects that span the spectrum of meeting needs for kids, the elderly, the homeless, the disabled, the environment, animals and good health.

Pybus Market will be an information hub. Some projects and boxes for collections will be located in the center of the market. There will also be maps of where projects are located as well as lists to help with participation.

1. To find organized projects, donation sites and details, go to the website: Enter your project here, too.

2. Our well-established tradition of “see a need, do a good deed” on the 4th Saturday of October is grass-roots, straight-from-the-heart giving and it reaches into nearly corner of our community. Each project has a wonderful story behind it — from the organizers and the volunteers to the recipients. Communities depend on this day to be strengthened, cleaned up and rejuvenated.

3. Our area has been a leader in Make a Difference Day since the beginning. In 1992, local efforts led to receiving the first national award in 1993 which named us the Make a Difference Day Community of the Year. The community received “Encore Awards” for outstanding Make a Difference Day efforts in 1995, 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2011, as well as an “honorable mention” for work in 1994. USA Weekend Magazine officially started the day which now has millions of participants around the world.

4. For those new to the area, this is a perfect way to make a friend or connect with the place you live. Join in the fun. You are needed. Most NCW communities have projects to join, but you can always make up your own.

5. To get you thinking, all these donations are needed on Make A Difference Day (go to the projects list at for collection sites): Art supplies (new, for hospital use); books for children (used); bikes (all types/kids, adults); blankets; cash; cell phones (used); children’s movies (new); Christmas stocking stuffers; cleaning supplies; coats (all sizes); cocoa, coffee and tea; coffee mugs and teacups; diapers — plus training pants, baby wipes, baby formula; eye glasses (used); fabric — any kind (used, stained, old clothes, belts, purses, etc.); food (easily prepared, non-perishable); gift cards for various uses; gloves (for all ages); hats (for all ages); hearing aids (used); hygiene supplies; kitchen products; Lego sets (new); quilt tops and fabric for quilts; pavers, retaining blocks for landscaping; rags; refreshments; scarves (warm); school supplies (especially graph paper, notebooks); sewing machines (in working order); teddy bears (used or new and clean); toys (new, for hospital use); travel-size toiletries; undergarments (child to teen sizes); yarn.

So, find a friend, motivate a co-worker, gather your family, inspire your church, do-it-yourself, get out and make the place you live a little better along with thousands of other people in cities large and small in North Central Washington. See a need and do a good deed.

Laurel Helton is coordinator of Wenatchee Valley Make A Difference Day. She was Wenatchee World food editor from 1983 to 1993.

Next week: A list of this year’s Make a Difference Day projects and a map.