5 Things | Make A Difference Day

Find a friend, motivate a co-worker, unite 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 North Central Washington. The 25th Make A Difference Day in North Central Washington is Saturday, Oct. 24. The 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 the Greater Wenatchee Valley to the Leavenworth area and on up to fire-ravaged Chelan and the Methow Valley. Schools and churches are reaching out to those hurt by this summer’s fires, trails and fences will be mended, a new picnic shelter is being built in Washington Park, veterans will be given legal help, kids with disabilities will be cheered for, food banks will be refilled for the holidays, diapers by the thousands are being collected, and winter equipment and clothing are being swapped to help youth programs and clothe the homeless. Projects span the spectrum of meeting needs for kids, the elderly, the homeless, the disabled, the environment, animals and health.        

Pybus Public Market in Wenatchee is an information hub and collection point for some of the projects. Bring your donation and learn about ways to get involved in your community. There will also be maps of where projects are located as well as lists to help with participation. And if you want your voice to be heard, Our Valley What’s Next vision summit will be held at Pybus from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on October 24th.         

If you are new to the area or haven’t heard of Make A Difference Day, here are some things to know:        

1. This is a perfect way to make a friend or connect with the place you live. Join in the fun. You are needed. Most communities in North Central Washington have projects to join, but you can always make up your own. In fact, we encourage you to look around you and find something you are passionate about to contribute to. No project is too small. You can even grab a garbage bag and pick up litter on your morning walk or at your child’s soccer game.        

2. You will find inspiration and motivation, donations sites and details, organized projects and more at this website: wenatcheemkdd.com. Enter your project here, too. It will help avoid duplication and give others a way to plug in.        

3. Our well-established tradition of “see a need, do a good deed” on the fourth 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. Just ask Melissa and Makenna Schwab. Last year’s red wagon/toy drive earned them a $10,000 grand prize national award and they have another wonderful project this year — making caregiver snack packs for Seattle Children’s Hospital. Organizations and communities depend on this day to be strengthened, cleaned up and rejuvenated.       

4. 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.(makeadifferenceday.com)        

5. To get you thinking, all these donations are needed on Make A Difference Day (go to the Project List at wenatcheemkdd.com for collection sites): books for children (used); bikes (all types/kids, adults); blankets; cash; cellphones (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; eyeglasses (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; 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; travel-size toiletries; undergarments (child to teen sizes); yarn.     

Work outside or inside, make a donation, spend the day or just a few minutes, help a pre-organized project or create your own. Stop and eat lunch at People’s Bank on Mission Street in Wenatchee and it will benefit Hospitality Ministries. It’s as easy as that. When it comes to Make A Difference Day, everyone is invited to participate, and all projects matter.

And remember, see a need and do a good deed.