October 17th is known as the National Day of volunteering by the African Institute for Philanthropy and Community Renewal. The day fosters diaspora civic engagement by bringing together members of Diaspora organizations across the United States for a day of community service as a sign of appreciation to their country of residence. Each registered diaspora member or organization was assigned a volunteer task at one of the locations where volunteer opportunities have been identified. Some registered organizations also arranged their own volunteer project. We had 58 participants during GDW 2015!
Our group started their Saturday morning packaging food for families in need with the Share Food Network , prepared breakfast for men and women staying in Catholic Charities shelters through the Cup of Joe project and picked up debris on the campus of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital 801 East Men’s Shelter. Volunteers there said it’s important to give back, not just for themselves but also for the community that has welcomed them.
At the end of the day-long project, what volunteers said they agreed is most important, is being able to do something to change their part of the world. Mack McCarter, a coordinator at Community Renewal International said he volunteered because, “Every little bit helps, I volunteered to help clean the grounds at the homeless shelter working with Catholic Charities. It was a wonderful experience just to see the lives that are being given hope again and if we can all clean up the world a little bit where we live, then our world would be a clean, healed world.”
Below is a short video from our day! We hope you enjoy watching it.
Many organizations took part in the Giving Back to America volunteering movement during #GDW2015: Lemou-Bafou, Catholic Women Organization CWOCCC, Village Future Foundation, Friendly Menoua Foundation, Lenan USA, Renaissance Center for culture and Education, FAGRIB and Community Renewal International.
For Miafo-Donfack, while it’s important for his organization to help celebrate the accomplishments of diaspora members in their countries of heritage, he said it is equally important for members to, “stop and think about how most of the members of the diaspora community are able to accomplish what they have been able to accomplish overseas because of the resources they have, because of the support they have from this community. So it’s just fair for them to give back to that community that has given too much to them.”
Thanks to all who came out to lend a hand!