A ‘Day to Serve’ in the Northern Neck: Regional planners call for local participation

Regional officials have embraced a statewide initiative as a means of ramping up community and volunteer efforts in the Northern Neck.

The Northern Neck Planning District Commission (NNPDC) recently endorsed a proclamation issued by Gov. Bob McDonnell for the second annual “Day to Serve,” an event with the intention of bringing people together to create or expand projects between Sept. 15-29 that help to strengthen communities, feed the hungry and/or enhance the environment.

Project ideas suggested for Day to Serve include expanding a current event through activities such as adding food drives, donating books and/or canned foods to local libraries and asking communities to assess their needs while using Day to Serve as a call to action.

The initiative also encourages localities to ask county administrators and town managers to hold a community cleanup day and request that local EMS, fire and police departments hold a fire safety or driving safety day where children can

visit the station in exchange for a food donation.

In order to catalyze the increased involvement of local groups such as nonprofit organizations and churches in Day to Serve, NNPDC Executive Director Jerry Davis has forwarded the proclamation, signed by NNPDC Chairman F. Lee Sanders, to all four counties and the six incorporated towns in the Northern Neck.

“We’d like to think that we’re doing these activities on a continuous basis,” said Jerry Davis, who added that Day to Serve brings heightened awareness to individuals and organizations who are already volunteering and giving back to their localities.

According to McDonnell’s proclamation, the inaugural Day to Serve held last year resulted in over 750 community events with more than 14,000 volunteers, 26,000 hours of service and over 600,000 pounds of food being donated to local food banks.

Last year’s event also included efforts that served to improve the environment through projects such as  roadway cleanups, which Davis said remains one of the primary focuses of the NNPDC.

According to Davis, the NNPDC administers the “Assign-a-Highway” program throughout the region. Within the program, probationers are assigned roads within the Northern Neck and are tasked with cleaning their designated sections under the direction of a coordinator.

Assign-a-Highway has not only made the roads more aesthetically pleasing, Davis said, but they also provided environmental benefits through reducing the amount of roadside waste that could seep into waterways and potentially harm wildlife or damage local ecosystems.

Although Assign-a-Highway is in effect year-round, Davis said the NNPDC will be accelerating their efforts with the program as part of Day to Serve, and they are asking the same from Adopt-a-Highway groups on the Northern Neck as well as other organizations that seek to make a difference in their communities.

To learn more about Day to Serve, visit www.daytoserve.org or contact 804-225-4836. For local groups who wish to create a Day to Serve event, visit http://www.daytoserve.org/addyourevent.

Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 10:12 am