You can't keep some good volunteers down

A 10th anniversary is the type of milestone you point to, a symbol of success and stability. But as Nicole Love and the Great Days of Service planning committee prepared for this year's event, they braced for the worst.

High unemployment and a struggling economy aren't good for an event like Great Days, which depends on donations of money, time and products. So Love, associate director of the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services, planned for a slightly lesser version of the county's helping hand weekend.

But Love and her committee soon found that the recession couldn't ebb the enthusiasm for Great Days of Service, which will be held Friday and Saturday.

"We had decided as a committee to scale back projects," Love said. "But in fact, we actually have more projects (this year). The support has been overwhelming.

"I was extremely surprised. I was prepared for the funding to be lower and the turnout to be lower ... It's uplifting."

Love expects this year's event, which pairs up volunteers with projects needed by local agencies, to include more than 15,000 volunteers. More than 100 local schools will participate through food and supply drives and students from Georgia Gwinnett College and Gwinnett Tech will also lend a hand.

And they'll have plenty to do. From landscaping and construction to beautification projects like painting murals, the volunteers will make their mark.

"For all that these people do, it's touching to me," Love said. "And I hear it from the agencies. They can't thank us enough for the help they are provided."

It's not too late to be part of the Great Days. Love said there are still projects that need volunteers. To find out more, you can call Love at 770-995-3339.

If you decide to participate, Love is sure she'll see you next year.

"It really is contagious," she said. "Once people start working they continue to (volunteer)."

Bad economy or not.

E-mail Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.