Melissa Ingalls, an Orem resident, helps the Timpanogos Regional Food Bank prepare for fall food drives. Photo courtesy United Way of Utah County.
Community Action’s Fall Food Drive
Old rivals come together for a good cause as BYU and the University of Utah participate in Community Action’s Fall Food Drive.
The annual food drive, which takes place in November, is managed by Community Action Services, a United Way Partner.
BYU and the University of Utah are hosting a competition to see which school can gather the most food items. Smith’s grocery stores are accepting monetary donations that can be designated for the food drive of either school, which in turn will be directed to the food bank.
Members of the community are encouraged to participate by donating canned food items at various locations. Community members can also purchase a “blue” or “red” college logo to display.
Protein food items such as cans of tuna, peanut butter and canned stews are especially needed. Gift certificates for holiday dinner items, such as frozen turkeys, are also appreciated and conserve the food bank’s limited freezer space. Dry goods including pasta, rice, pre-packaged dinners, as well as paper towels, toilet paper and diapers can also be donated.
Donations can be dropped off at all Jiffy Lube auto shops and Smith’s grocery stores in Utah County, as well as the Timpanogos Regional Food Bank.
Small groups of volunteers can also assist by sorting and inspecting the donated canned food. Likewise, fund-raisers (such as auctions, bake sales and car washes) can be held to raise money for the Timpanogos Regional Food Bank. Cash donations are also welcome.
Community Action Services seeks to assist the economically disadvantaged, elderly and community members with disabilities in taking control of their lives. It offers crisis assistance and problem solving for families facing emergencies.
For more information on the Food Drive, call the Timpanogos Regional Food Bank at (801) 373-8200.
Sharon Seagull Reading Program
National Children’s Book Week, which occurs the third week of November, takes on new meaning to elementary school students in Orem this year.
Sharon Elementary promotes literacy through a reading program that introduces students to the joy of books. Local volunteers help the world of reading come alive to children by volunteering between two to three hours a week reading to school children. Volunteers fill a crucial need at the school.
“Volunteers come away with a sense of having made a difference in a child’s life by increasing their confidence and ability to read,” says Kaimii Stone, volunteer coordinator. “When volunteers invest their time to read with a child, fundamental reading skills are developed.”
There is an ongoing need for volunteers at the school because students need guidance as they move from one reading level to the next. When volunteers share their knowledge with a child, that child progresses in capacity and confidence.
Volunteers can serve on a weekly basis, giving between two to three hours of their time. Various shifts are available. Anyone interested in helping children increase their confidence as they enhance their reading skills can contact Stone at (801) 227-8733.
Hospice for Utah
November is National Hospice Month, and volunteers at Hospice for Utah can assist community members who are in the final stages of terminal illness.
Since the organization’s inception in 1997, more than 95,000 individuals have volunteered nationwide. Despite the numbers, more volunteers are needed to serve in various positions.
Hospice for Utah provides a way for any willing volunteer to serve. Some qualified volunteers, such as registered nurses, provide hands-on care for the terminally ill. Others give support for family members and other caregivers.
Volunteers may also fill clerical and administrative roles in the Hospice office, while others may assist with planned events and other activities.
“Volunteering for Hospice can be a challenging and rewarding experience,” says Janet Kacskos, director of community relations for Hospice for Utah. “By serving people who are making choices on how to spend their last precious days and weeks of life, volunteers can learn more about themselves and what really matters.”
The services offered at Hospice for Utah help alleviate the pressure and remorse felt by those in the final stages of a terminal illness, as well as their family members.
“Hospice for Utah provides a program of compassionate, family-centered care,” Kacskos says. “It allows the patient with a terminal illness to remain at home, in greater control of his or her life, surrounded by the people and things that give life meaning.”
Due to the emotional nature of the work, volunteers receive extensive training and orientation.
Volunteers also have the chance to offer support for the family members of Hospice’s clients by running errands and helping with the day-to-day aspects of life. Interested volunteers can call (801) 812-3577.
Sub for Santa
Sub for Santa is a Christmas assistance program designed to match sponsors with families in need.
Families who receive donations have qualified for assistance through the United Way of Utah County. Families who apply generally have financial struggles, physical disabilities or are recovering from an unusual circumstance.
“We estimate that there will be about 2,100 families this year who will need assistance,” says Christina Aguilar, director of the Sub for Santa Program at the United Way of Utah County.
Community members who sponsor families help them meet the basic needs of Christmas for their children.
“A big focus of the Sub for Santa Program is self-sufficiency,” Aguilar says. “Each sponsor should donate two new items of clothing, two new toys and a book for each child so that parents may recreate a similar Christmas the following year.”
Sponsored families also receive budgeting information and ideas on creating Christmas traditions that fill the home with holiday spirit without draining financial resources.
Gifts that are donated should be new and unwrapped. Sponsors may include wrapping paper and bows as part of their donation.
For information on how and when to volunteer, contact the United Way of Utah County at (801) 374-8108.