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MAKING A MARK: VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads hosts 'Family Volunteer Day' amid COVID-19

VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads is urging people to step up and give back. The group is rallying community members for a day of service during the pandemic.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A local group is calling on community members to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

Stephanie Gorham is the Executive Director of VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads, a nonprofit that connects people, businesses and other nonprofits with local volunteer opportunities and resources.

"There's a true joy in giving back to your community, in serving, in volunteerism," said Gorham. "Some nonprofits don't necessarily have the bandwidth to recruit the number of volunteers that they need. So, that's why we're here. We're here to step in and help them do that so they can focus on their mission."

November 21 is the 22nd annual Global Day of Service known as Family Volunteer Day. Here locally, VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads is mobilizing more than 400 people, groups, and families to participate in 17 projects benefitting 14 nonprofits. 

This year, the projects are both outdoor and virtual due to the pandemic. 

"Our goal [is] to help more nonprofits this year than we ever have before," said Gorham. "The need is just a lot bigger this year. So, all of our applications for projects, we accepted every single one."

Gorham said devoting just a few hours of service that day could impact countless lives amid the crisis, including the volunteers themselves. 

"We think it's such an important value of having families volunteer together," said Gorham. "And it's right before Thanksgiving every year, and it's a great time to give back to the community."

Participating organizations include the American Red Cross, Armed Services YMCA, Chesapeake Humane Society, City of Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation, Compassion Cards, ForKids, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve, Norfolk Botanical Garden, Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, Suffolk Meals on Wheels, Tidewater Friends of Foster Care, Village Family Outreach, and YWCA of South Hampton Roads.

The deadline for people, families, groups and businesses to sponsor Family Volunteer Day projects is Friday, October 30. 

Volunteer registration begins Monday, November 2. For more information, click here. You can also check out the group on Facebook.