Volunteers are the key element to the Community Serve Day slated this year for April 24. During the day volunteers paint park benches or playground equipment and complete other projects to help spruce up the community. (Submitted photo).

ONTARIO – After a year hiatus because of Covid, the annual Community Serve Day is scheduled to kick off Saturday, April 24, across Malheur County.

“I truly believe there are a lot of people in our community who want to make a difference,” said Tammy Vogt, Community Serve Day director.

Community Serve Day is an ambitious volunteer effort across the local region.

“It encompasses eight different communities,” said Vogt.

During the day volunteers will fan out in Ontario, Nyssa, Vale and Adrian. In Idaho, they will work in Fruitland, Weiser, New Plymouth and Payette.

The projects run the gamut from sprucing up parks to painting houses to planting trees to yard work and landscaping.

“We give a facelift to all the parks in Ontario every year. We also work with community foodbanks and community gardens,” said Vogt.

The April 24 serve day will mark the 11th year of the volunteer effort, said Vogt.

Vogt said Community Serve Day accepts project ideas and then seeks volunteers.

“Currently we have 50 to 60 projects,” said Vogt.

Now, volunteers are needed, said Vogt.

“We will need 500 to 600 volunteers,” said Vogt.

Vogt said she is confident people will step up to help.

“In 2019, we had over 100 projects and over 1,000 volunteers,” said Vogt.

The key to the day, said Vogt, is to “connect the resources with the need.”

“We believe we have a lot of resources of time and skill and volunteers. We just need a way to connect them. Serve Day also kind of knocks down the barriers we deal with in our community all the time,” said Vogt.

Covid restrictions will make an impact, said Vogt.

“This year we have some Covid safety protocols in place. We are only doing projects that can be done outside. We usually send everyone out with a breakfast but we are not able to do that this year,” said Vogt.

Vogt said masks and social distancing will be mandatory.

The day of service also “brings people together across socio-economic or language barriers,” said Vogt.

“It is pretty amazing all that is accomplished,” said Vogt.

To find out more or to volunteer go to www.serveday.info or email [email protected]

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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