On Saturday, March 12,, the inaugural Hungry to Help event was held at Milford High School. Volunteer organizations throughout the state were available to explain volunteer opportunities available to those who were looking for ways to give back to the community. In addition, area food trucks were on hand to provide lunch to those who stopped to learn more about volunteer opportunities in the area.
“I was approached by Mayor Bryan Shupe about holding this event in Milford,” said Ann Gorrin of Volunteer Delaware 50+. “We were thrilled to be able to assist in providing information on how people can serve the community. The event is not just for people over 50, but for anyone who is looking for ways they can help. We hope that entire families come out to find ways to support local organizations.”
Mrs. Gorrin said that many people are aware of some of the organizations looking for volunteers, such as Carlisle Fire Company or Bayhealth Medical Center, but that they may not be aware of the many different opportunities available even within those organizations. She said that most volunteer agencies could arrange volunteer work so that it fits into even the busiest of schedules.
“You can volunteer for an hour a month or as much as 40 hours per week,” Mrs. Gorrin said. “I’ve worked with volunteers as young as six and as old as 100, so there is literally no age limit for volunteering. In fact, we love to see small children coming out to volunteer because we believe that this creates a sense of giving to the community at a young age and that it will continue throughout their lives.”
The event was designed to let people see that Milford is their town and not just a way to get to Dover or Rehoboth, Mrs. Gorrin said. She stated that the organizations at the event hoped to help people get to know the community better and provide information on ways that they could make the community even greater. She said that Mayor Shupe, Councilman Jamie Burk and Councilwoman Lisa Ingram Peel had been instrumental in putting the event together by providing help and advertising the event heavily in order to attract more visitors.
Originally, the event was planned for the Milford Armory, but when the organizers found that the Odyssey of the Mind would be held at both Milford Central Academy and Milford High School, they moved the event in an effort to allow parents and students the opportunity to learn more. Since Odyssey of the Mind brought visitors to Milford from areas outside of Milford, the event could encourage volunteerism throughout the state.
“We are always looking for volunteers,” said Mark Dissinger, who was helping at the Second Street Players table. “We need backstage and on stage volunteers for the community theater. Volunteers do not have to be actors as we have many other jobs that need to be handled. We use volunteers for ticket sales, ushers, costuming, set design and everything else necessary to put on performances. There is a saying that ‘many hands make little work’ so we strive for that. The more people we have volunteering, the easier the work is.”
Laura Marek of the Ronald McDonald House located near A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital in Newark was also at the event to promote volunteerism. Ms. Marek said that there are many downstate volunteer options available for those who wish to help the house which provides lodging for families whose children are being treated at the hospital.
“We need a stronger base of volunteers for Kent and Sussex County,” Ms. Marek said. “We have options for volunteers downstate such as our 5k which is held in Lewes in September. We also have many special projects available for those in downstate Delaware if they want to support the organization.” Ms. Marek said there are also volunteer opportunities at the Ronald McDonald House including mail programs and assisting with activities for the families staying there.
Ms. Gorrin said that there were no firm plans yet to make it an annual event, but that many of those involved were already talking about what could be done next year. “I really hope we do make this an annual event as I think it will not only help the organizations who participate but the community as a whole,” Ms. Gorrin said.