Bexley Youth Service Week will provide multiple opportunities for children and adults alike to volunteer Saturday, April 27, through May 3.
Bexley City Council member Monique Lampke said she came up with the idea for the event about four years ago after volunteering at a local food pantry with her children. She said her children found the experience so fulfilling, they asked to volunteer again and invited friends to join them.
"It started out with my own family and grew to include our neighbors and friends because they shared our joy and enthusiasm for volunteering that kids, neighbors and families can do together," Lampke said.
In organizing Bexley Youth Service Week, Lampke said she worked with an eight-member steering committee to organize volunteer opportunities in the following areas: pet adoption/rescue, meal delivery/food pantries, police and safety, local parks, senior citizen support, assisting low-income families, homelessness and wish-granting.
"I reached out to people that have a real passion for volunteering," Lampke said. "They helped me identify the areas of opportunity where we could provide specific chances for people to volunteer."
Some of the options include doing light yard work for someone needing assistance, sorting books for Books for Bedtime, preparing snack bags for Bexley police officers, assisting with an activity at Huckleberry House, stocking a Little Free Pantry in the Bexley area and removing honeysuckle in Jeffrey Park.
The Bexley Community Foundation provided a $3,000 grant to support Bexley Youth Service Week activities, said Hallie Raskin, the foundation's executive director.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for kids and adults to give back and see all our community has to offer," she said. "Monique came up with ideas for lots of different activities at lots of different places. It really allows everyone to be involved, and that's a nice community feel."
The Bexley Public Library, 2411 E. Main St., is one of the participating organizations. The library will host activities sponsored by the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
"The Make-a-Wish Foundation is going to have students making blankets for sick children," said Ken Flower, the library's director of Advancement and Community Relations. "They're also going to be writing thank you notes to wish-granters."
Throughout the week, residents can drop off canned food that will be donated to the Salvation Army at these collection sites: Christ Lutheran Church, 2314 E. Main St.; Jeffrey Mansion Preschool, 165 N. Parkview Ave.; and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus, 1125 College Ave. Retail store Pet People, 2656 E. Main St., will accept and match donations of pet food and supplies that will be distributed to animal-welfare organizations, Lampke said.
Everyone who participates in Bexley Youth Service Week will receive a "golden ticket" that can be redeemed for free ice cream at Graeter's, Johnson's Real Ice Cream and Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.
Lampke said she hopes to make the event an annual tradition and is close to meeting the goal of having 100 volunteers registered.
"I think we're going to easily surpass our goal, which says a lot about our community," she said.
"By and large, the activities can be done by kids of any age. We encourage adults, parents, grandparents to join in the fun, too."
For a complete list of participating organizations and to sign up for specific events, visit bexley.org/youthserviceweek.