From working at food banks in multiple states to sprucing up neighborhoods in Philadelphia and Atlanta to working at a summer program for kids in rural Tennessee, students and alumni around the country are joining forces this summer to underscore UT’s volunteer tradition.
The efforts are a part of Volunteering with the Vols, a series of community service projects taking place during June and July in fourteen cities around the country. This is the second year for the program, which is coordinated by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Alumni Affairs.
“These events are great opportunities for incoming students to get to know each other and network with current students and alumni,” said Kari Alldredge, vice provost for enrollment management. “Participants enjoy the camaraderie of the Big Orange family while serving the community; it truly brings the Volunteer spirit to life.”
Volunteering with the Vols will kick off Thursday, June 15, in Washington, DC. Students and alumni will be delivering food for Food and Friends, a DC-area charity that delivers nutritionally balanced meals to people with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses.
Future Volunteering with the Vols events are planned:
- June 17 in Houston, Texas. Volunteers will be working at the Houston Food Bank, inspecting, sorting, and repackaging donated food items to prepare them for distribution.
- June 17 in Atlanta. Volunteers will be working at Park Pride, focusing their efforts on invasive plant removal, mulching, and trail maintenance. Park Pride strives to help communities enhance parks and green spaces through advocacy, volunteerism, and capital improvements by providing programs, funding, and leadership.
- June 17 in San Diego. Volunteers will sort donations for the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank. This involves looking for damages, checking expiration dates, and repacking donations.
- June 17 in Philadelphia. Volunteers will be helping the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center with neighborhood cleanup. The center is a hub for community resources and serves as a haven for children who need a safe space to learn and play, as well as a setting where adults can engage in community events and health activities.
- June 18 in Cincinnati. Volunteers will be working at Talbert House, a community-wide nonprofit that helps men, women, and children overcome adversity to become healthy and productive citizens through its programs in community corrections, mental health, substance use, welfare-to-work, and housing.
- June 24 in Orlando. Volunteers will assist with inspecting, sorting, and repackaging donated food items to prepare them for distribution at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.
- June 24 in Knoxville. Volunteers will work in the product recovery area of Second Harvest Food Bank’s Maryville warehouse, where they will process donation food for distribution. They will check expiration dates, sort, and label products.
- June 29 in Columbia, Tennessee. Volunteers will help facilitate “Summer Brain Gain,” a program hosted by the Boys and Girls Club of Maury County that helps kids avoid summer learning loss through fun hands-on activities. Research has shown that summer learning loss occurs at higher rates for youth from low-income families like many of those served by Maury County’s Wayne Street facility.
- July 8 in Lynwood, Illinois. Volunteers will be working at Mother Carr’s Farm, an organic farm run by the Vernon Park Church of God.
- July 15 in Kingsport, Tennessee. Volunteers will assist with various projects at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. They will also help with the Fifth Annual ReArt at the ReStore, part of Kingsport’s Fun Fest, where local artists come to the ReStore and create art from items found in the store.
- July 15 in Memphis. Volunteers will be working at Mid-South Food Bank, where they will check product quality and repack donations for distribution.
- July 15 in Tampa. Volunteers will sort donations for Feeding Tampa Bay.
- July 22 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Volunteers will be working with the Tread Brightly 4Miler to set up for the race and assist during it.