Family Volunteer Day By the Numbers:
738 volunteers – 1609 service hours
1696 individuals served – 10 projects
What began as a single day of gratitude and giving has grown into a month-long celebration honoring our veterans and active duty service members. Family Volunteer “Day”, now observed throughout November, was an opportunity for our community to come together to express appreciation and support for those who have served and continue to serve our nation.
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Projects this year included:
Manna Drop & Holiday For Heroes – The month-long celebration kicked off with a Manna Drop at Harper Elementary School on November 4. The Brookwood Boys’ Basketball team, VyStar Credit Union team members, and families volunteered to distribute staple food items to more than 300 of our local neighbors in need. Meanwhile, another set of volunteers crafted heartfelt cards and posters to thank our service members. More than 100 posters hung in downtown storefronts through Veterans Day. New this year, our posters were also on display at the Thomas University Military Transition football game on November 4 – talk about the perfect place to show our appreciation!
Veterans Day Flag Ceremony – The community gathered at the Thomas County Historic Courthouse on November 10 for the Veterans Day Flag Ceremony. This annual event pays homage to the sacrifices of our veterans, providing moments for reflection and unity. Attendees, young and old, came together to honor local men and women who have defended our freedom.
Care Packages for Active Duty Service Members – Throughout the entire month, volunteers collected donations for Judy’s Hero Boxes, a program that mails military care packages to deployed active-duty service members. Our community came together to donate more than 1,800 essential items! Then, on December 9, more than 30 volunteers assembled and prepared the boxes to be sent to service members around the world – just in time for the Christmas holidays!
Local Veterans Support – Throughout November, volunteers also gathered donations specifically tailored for local veterans, with a special emphasis on those who are currently displaced. The commitment to caring for the needs of veterans within the community highlighted the deep sense of responsibility felt towards those who have served and now find themselves facing challenges on the home front. Thirty “thank you” packages were created for displaced veterans that included blankets, knit caps and gloves, a $50 Walmart gift card, hygiene items, handmade cards, and more.
Further, an additional 30 local veterans were nominated to receive holiday packages thanking them for their service and contributions to our community!
Nominate a Hero Campaign – The month-long celebration once again included the “Nominate a Hero” campaign, our call to the community to submit information on active duty and veteran service members. This information was used to curate the care packages and thank you packages for our active duty and veteran service members.
As you can see, Family Volunteer “Day” was more than a series of events; it was a display of collective appreciation, support, and dedication to those in our community who have selflessly sacrificed for our freedom. The efforts of volunteers, the generosity of the community, and the stories shared through the Nominate a Hero campaign further all came together to create a rich tapestry of gratitude. As November came to a close, the spirit of honoring our veterans and active duty service members lingered, leaving a lasting impression on the hearts of those who participated in this month-long celebration of service.
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Special thanks to these Diamond Level & above Sponsors, The Thomasville Antiques Show Foundation, and all of our donors and sponsors for making volunteer programs and events like these possible.