This week, thousands of people in more than 400 communities across the globe will volunteer with United Way to improve lives through our annual Day of Action on June 21.
And while it’s summer in the United States—a time of freedom and fun for many schoolchildren—in too many communities throughout the world, kids fall behind academically and go hungry when school’s not in session. To boost summer learning and nutrition, United Ways participate in book drives and help build awareness of summer nutrition programs. Recently, for example, United Way Ghana held a rally to support basic education at the capital’s Independence Square. The next phase of the effort has employees from Stanbic Bank volunteering at two underserved schools to help younger children with reading skills and older students improve their financial literacy.
Through a partnership with Estée Lauder, United Way UK is mobilizing employees to install two Reading Oases—instant libraries for schools that lack reading resources. Volunteers will assemble furniture and shelves, decorate the reading spaces and organize books. Estée Lauder employees can also become Reading Buddies, thus extending the impact of one day’s work to year-round.
Portable, non-perishable meals can help prevent summer hunger, so on June 21 United Way of Greater Toledo (Ohio) is hosting “United We Eat” at its office warehouse. About 100 United Way volunteers will direct as many as 1,000 local employees in assembling 2,000 weekend meal kits for food insecure kids and then buy lunch from food trucks in the parking lot. A portion of the sales will benefit a local hunger prevention nonprofit, Connecting Kids to Meals.
United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties in Iowa is partnering with Procter & Gamble to bring together 300 employee volunteers to assemble Healthy Snack Packs for Kids, Back-to-School kits for teachers, and teen hygiene kits for teenagers who are homeless. As they assemble the kits, volunteers will write a note for each one, telling a story about a teacher that made an impact in their life, for example, or offering encouragement for a struggling student. The project is expected to benefit about 2,000 people.
Kids who are healthy and active have a better chance of success in school. And so, for the fourth year, United Way of Fairfield County’s Day of Action will encourage kids to unplug and get outside. At Miller Park in Lancaster, Ohio, about 60 volunteers from Target and the greater community will lead activities for some 250 children and their parents, including science kiosks, YMCA fitness activities, parachute play, arts and crafts, plus swimming at a public pool. Lunch and all the activities are free, thanks to support from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and other sponsors.
In 2018, more than 520 United Ways in 19 countries mobilized volunteers on Day of Action. Whether it was inspiring healthy habits, leading community-wide food drives, recruiting mentors and tutors, or connecting kids with books, their efforts are but a snapshot of what United Way does all year long—galvanizing people around solutions to build stronger communities.
Share what you're doing on Day of Action 2019 on social media with the hashtag #UWDayofAction.