In less than an hour, the house’s exterior had been transformed.
Volunteers shoveled and hauled dirt, laid out sod, washed windows and cleared debris in a criss-cross of activity that never slowed.
The 30 volunteers worked outside and inside the 86th Habitat for Humanity House in Glynn County on Tuesday, putting in hours of labor outside in the warm April weather. They’d come to the Golden Isles from across North America, and all were employees of the third party logistics company Legacy Supply Chain Services.
Through the United Way of Coastal Georgia’s Volunteer Center, the company was able to coordinate an organized volunteer opportunity that they could be sure addressed a need in this community.
“This is what we do at the Volunteer Center,” said Janelle Harvey, community impact manager for the local United Way. “… We connect either corporate groups, church groups, community groups that want to volunteer, and I have a list of projects around the area, so we try to connect them with something.”
Agencies with a need for volunteers also work with the local United Way Volunteer Center to seek out support. Habitat for Humanity works with the center and often provides volunteer opportunities to corporate groups like Legacy looking for service projects.
“We’ve been planning this for a while,” said Becca Randall, director of development and community relations for the local Habitat for Humanity. “They help a different organization in this area every year.”
The day of service fits in with Legacy’s core values, said Micki Ackermann, director of talent and culture for Legacy. A group of the company’s employees are visiting Jekyll Island this week for a leadership retreat, and the first day of the retreat is annually devoted to a day of service.
“It is more powerful than any team building event I could have possibly thought of,” Ackermann said.
The Legacy volunteers previously worked at Grace House and Morningstar Children and Family Services in past years, Harvey said. The United Way Volunteer Center is able to connect groups like Legacy with volunteer opportunities. The center can also connect individuals with volunteer opportunities, Harvey said.
“We can tailor it to whatever their interests are,” she said.
United Way revamped its Volunteer Center a couple of years ago. Prior to that, the nonprofit organized two big service days annually — a Day of Caring and a Day of Action. The new method allows Harvey to better meet the needs of local groups hoping to volunteer throughout the year.
“It’s expanding all the time,” Harvey said. “As I’m getting more familiar with the organizations in the community, I’m able to better match-make.”
The four-bedroom, two-bathroom home that volunteers worked on Tuesday will soon house a family — two parents and their five children.
“They reached out to us,” Randall said. “They had been living in a hotel room for several months.”
The volunteers did quick and thorough work on the house, sprucing up the inside and outside in a well-coordinated, day-long effort. Bringing the volunteers there was part of United Way’s core purpose in this community, Harvey said.
“That is one of the three things that we do — we raise money, we advocate and we volunteer,” she said.
Those seeking volunteer opportunities through the United Way Volunteer Center can contact Harvey by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 912-265-1850.