Eighth-grader Mitchell Rouse was one of 400 students who helped rake leaves at Oakwood Cemetery in Allegan in April 2004 as part of a Youth Service Day organized by United Way. Maybe this is something you could organize or pitch in for your community during National Volunteer Week, April 6-12.

Basement Beat: April 6-12 is National Volunteer Week

Ryan Lewis, Editor

New website, new content: “Basement Beat” (a riff on my column’s name) will give me a chance to mention all of the interesting stuff I never otherwise get a chance to mention in my column in the paper.

Questions you want me to answer here? Email me: rmlewis@allegannews.com.


Next week, April 6-12, is National Volunteer Week.

The Allegan County United Way and Volunteer Center tells me it is joining “thousands of nonprofit agencies, schools, faith-based organizations, public sector entities, and others across the country as we ‘Celebrate Service’ during National Volunteer Week, April 6-12, 2014.

“This year marks the 40th Anniversary of National Volunteer Week, demonstrating the enduring importance of recognizing the valuable contributions of those who volunteer their time, skills and talents to help improve the quality of life in our communities.”

Sounds good to me.

I know many people in communities across Allegan County reach out to help others in a variety ways. If you’re looking for another way—or your first volunteer opportunity—United Way has a handy search tool that will connect you with things you might want to do to help.

It’s at www.acuw.org. Click on “Volunteer” near the top and then type in a key word to get started.

For example, I typed in “phone” and can see four organizations looking for help in that department: The Forever Curious Children’s Museum (museum volunteer), Sylvia’s Place (help at the shelter) and two entries for Michigan Blood (receptionist and driver).

Click on the link and it’ll take to an entry that describes the kind of help needed and how to sign up.

The possibilities are many. Again, the United Way says, “Allegan County volunteers sort food pantry donations, tutor young students, mentor struggling families, coordinate fundraising events, advocate for abused and neglected children, deliver meals to seniors, and provide hundreds of other services that help stretch the limited resources of our community organizations. ACUW volunteers provide free medical care for the uninsured/underinsured via the Volunteer Medical Corps, provide free tax preparation and e-file services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, raise funds for the Imagination Library, provide technology and office support and serve on the ACUW Board of Directors as well as on various ACUW advisory groups.”

Next week, I encourage all of us to go out of our way to thank all those volunteers. A good way to do so would be to pitch and join them!

If websites aren’t your thing, give United Way a call (269) 673-6545.


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