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iServe event provides volunteers with opportunities
By LINDELL KAY - Daily News Staff
Published: Monday, January 21, 2013 at 17:03 PM.
From helping feed the homeless to teaching children to read or caring for injured animals, agencies provided plenty of choices for attendees looking to get involved at an inaugural volunteer event on Monday.
More than 20 volunteer agencies participated in the iServe Volunteer Fair, offering opportunities to more than 150 residents looking for opportunities to help others. The event — held at the Jacksonville Commons Recreation Center — was presented by Volunteer Onslow, the United Way of Onslow County and the City of Jacksonville.
“We wanted to get volunteers connected to agencies so thought it best to get everyone together at one time,” said Craig Wagner, president of the local United Way chapter. He said his group looked at other volunteer fairs in other communities — especially Wilmington — and decided the iServe approach would be the best fit for Jacksonville.
Potential volunteers were able to talk with representatives of Girl Scouts, Hospice, the Onslow Woman’s Center, Sturgeon City and several other agencies. Attendees signed up with the agencies of their choice, registered for additional online information from organizations and learned about the upcoming Day of Action set for April.
Planned for April 20, the Day of Action is a community-wide event that will connect volunteer teams to several different service projects in the area, including gardening, cleaning, painting, envelope stuffing, and other tasks at agencies including the Belgrade Community Action Association, the Boys and Girls Club, the USO and Possumwood Acres.
Jacksonville resident Jennifer Becker said she wanted to get involved with the community and was grateful for the presentations at the fair.
“I’ve got a lot of information to go through, and I’ll check each possibility on the Internet,” she said as she exited the fair. She said she was impressed with the number of volunteer opportunities and was sure she would find a way to pitch in and help.
Complete with a caged possum and owl, Possumwood Acres was a poplar exhibit booth at the fair Wednesday.
“People want to know how they can get involved,” said Megan Tetreau, a staff volunteer with the wildlife rescue organization.
She said Possumwood is always looking for volunteers to help in daily tasks involving animals. Supplies and financial donations are always needed as well, Tetreau said.
The iServe event was all about giving volunteers a chance to discover a cause they can become passionate about whether they help out once or their service develops into a long-term commitment, Wagner said.
The iServe event was free, but many attendees brought non-perishable food items for the CHEW Backpack Program, which provides food to children who would otherwise go hungry on weekends without the free meals provided at public schools.
For more information on how to help out in Onslow County, visit the Volunteer Onslow website at volunteeronslow.org or call 910-938-HELP (4357).