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Fun run, blitz and mentoring turn skin-warming months into heart-warming months

The Food & Care Coalition in Provo links willing and able professionals — like dentists — with needy members of the community. Photo courtesy Food & Care Coalition

The Food & Care Coalition in Provo links willing and able professionals — like dentists — with needy members of the community. Photo courtesy Food & Care Coalition

Food & Care Coalition
It is known for the meals it offers needy people throughout the valley, but the Food & Care Coalition offers programs and opportunities that extend far beyond ladling soup.

The coalition offers a threefold plan for creating self-reliance among people in need in our area. Members of the community can volunteer in each of these areas.

1) Community Storehouse Program
This program was created to expand resources available to clients of the coalition while also providing a meaningful service opportunity for members of the professional community.

Serving as a resource bank, the program assists society’s most vulnerable by allowing professionals to contribute their expertise based on their time, desire and resources. In return, recipients of the service are required to perform public volunteer service.

For example, a local dentist goes to the coalition’s headquarters periodically to treat clients.

2) Mentor Advocate Program
The Mentor Advocate Program’s purpose is to link community mentors with clients. The mentor offers friendship, guidance and support in assisting the client in achieving self-reliant living.

The partnership provides the client with a chance to work with mainstream members of society to learn social skills and to forge friendships. For mentors, the program is an opportunity to serve.

3) C.R.E.W.
Clients are selected each year to participate in the coalition’s work training program, called C.R.E.W. The participants learn marketable job skills and gain work experience in an environment that is sensitive to their individual barriers of self-reliance. Trainees live in transitional housing units, save a certain percentage of their earnings, volunteer a minimum of five hours a week in the community and work with an assigned mentor.

Business owners in the community who feel they could provide a training experience should contact the coalition to get more information by calling (801) 373-1825 or visiting the coalition’s headquarters at 60 N. 300 West, Provo.

Use Your Mailbox to Stamp Out Hunger
On May 10, letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America will collect non-perishable food donations left by mailboxes and in post offices and deliver them to local food banks and shelters. Utah County residents are encouraged to participate.

An estimated 3,455 households in Utah face food insecurity every day. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 78,000 children in Utah live below the poverty level where food insecurity is high. This drive enables people to help neighbors in their community.

In 2002, the drive provided close to 1 million pounds of food for families in Utah. Interested volunteers can contact the United Way of Utah at (801) 374-6400.

Orem Blitz
The Orem Blitz is looking for individuals, families and other groups to volunteer four hours to beautify Orem’s Hillcrest Community.

Last year almost 500 people participated in the Blitz, and the city hopes to get 800 to 1,000 this year. The Blitz will run from May 12 to May 17, with most of the activities scheduled for Saturday, May 17. Volunteers for the Saturday activities should check in at 8 a.m. at Hillcrest Park, located at 1400 S. 650 East in Orem.

The Blitz incorporates projects that include exterior painting, minor home repairs, yard work, disposing of debris and old tires, and planting flowers. Volunteers are also needed at Blitz headquarters and other beautification projects.

Volunteers are matched with projects according to age, interest, resources and experience. Some projects require special equipment, such as a truck for hauling debris and equipment. Volunteers of all ages are invited to participate.

Monetary donations, painting materials, landscaping materials, picnic supplies and door prizes are also needed.

Volunteers should fill out a Volunteer Assessment prior to the event to assist in matching them with projects. Assessments can be acquired by calling Cody Fowler, Orem Blitz coordinator, at (801) 229-7577. For more information on volunteering, contact the United Way of Utah County at (801) 374-6400.

Independent Living 5K Run & Roll
The Center for Independent Living, which assists people with disabilities, will hold its first 5K run June 14.

Registration for the 5K run is at 7 a.m. at the Springville Wal-Mart Super Store, located at 660 S. 1750 West. The race begins at 8 a.m. Cost is $12 for pre-registered participants and $15 that day. Participants are encouraged to run, walk or roll the distance. The race will benefit the local Center for Independent Living.

For information, contact the center at (801) 373-5044.

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Greg Bennett

Greg Bennett is an editor and writer with Bennett Communications. His primary responsibilities are with Utah Valley Magazine and the company's custom publications division. He's the father of four children and has been married to his wife, Adria, for 19 years. Contact Greg at greg.utahvalley360@gmail.com.

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