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Calling all volunteers for Great Days of Service

Calling all rakes, shovels, paintbrushes, doers and helpers!

Want to make a difference in your community? Do you want to be a part of the nation's largest two-day volunteer event right here in Gwinnett County?

Then sign up to participate in this year's Gwinnett Great Days of Service on Oct. 5 and 6.

Are you a nonprofit agency that could use some volunteer help to get that extra project done that you have not had the time or money to accomplish? Are you a school that would like to build an outdoor garden? Is your food pantry empty?

These and more community projects will be completed during this year's Gwinnett Great Days of Service. We need everyone's help to make this year's event even better than the past.

So many people in our community have been affected by the last several years of the slumping real estate market and losing their homes to evictions and foreclosures. Gwinnett continues to see record numbers. The community has many needs from homelessness to people who are hungry.

Your involvement in the Gwinnett Great Days of Service helps agencies and schools that address thousands of people in need.

How many volunteers will it take to get all of this done in two days? Last year, it took more than 50,000. We want this to be the best event ever, so let's see if we can exceed 50,000 again this year.

This annual event was created eight years ago in the spirit of Gwinnett's slogan, "Success Lives Here." The Gwinnett Great Days of Service is designed to gain community awareness for the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services and more than 800-plus health and human service agencies and organizations that the coalition represents and supports.

The Gwinnett Great Days of Service Steering Committee works with these agencies to address specific needs in the county that are being overlooked and to complete defined service projects as a community, while educating residents and community leaders about the needs around them and engaging them to serve those in need.

None of this would be possible without the generosity of our wonderful sponsors. We still have space for several more sponsorships if you are interested in supporting this worthwhile cause.

Also, we are raising funds through a raffle for the community service project supplies. A beautiful gold and diamond ring will be awarded to a lucky winner at our kickoff event from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 3 at Wild Bill's in Duluth.

The public is invited and each volunteer team and agency is asked to have at least one member at the kickoff event to get instructions and pick up your team's T-shirts. Call Nicole Love at 770-995-3339 or e-mail her at nicole@gwinnettcoalition.org if you are interested in purchasing raffle tickets or want to learn more about how to get involved.

For more info on this year's event, log onto our Web site at www.gwinnettcoalition.org and choose the Gwinnett Great Days of Service icon on the right hand side of our home page.

"People Helping People" is a weekly column written by the executive directors of nonprofit organizations in Gwinnett County. Today's article was written by Ellen Gerstein of the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services.

Need help or know someone who does? The Gwinnett Helpline directs callers to the appropriate nonprofit agency. Call 770-995-3339.