Over 600 Backpacks for the community Photo by: L. Davis

About a month ago, I participated in a Twitter chat geared towards helping small nonprofits grow their funds, and build better relationships with donors, volunteers, and the communities they serve.  The topic of the chat was “What are you doing to strengthen relationships?” I was proud to announce to my fellow tweeters that I finally stepped up and became an official fundraiser for a small grassroots nonprofit, and we were preparing for a huge community festival and backpack giveaway.

Fast forward to today, The Victory Group, a small nonprofit whose mission is “Strengthening the Community One Family at a Time,” hosted their Annual community outreach event. From start to finish, this project had the needs of its community completely in mind. Small group leaders came out to represent their local support groups that house resources in the surrounding areas. Local medical providers such as Kennedy Health System, South Jersey Eye Center, Colgate Dental, and Underwood Memorial Hospital came out and conducted free health and dental screenings.  We also had games, moon bounces, face painting, balloon art for the kids and even a massage therapist on board to ease the tension of their parents (and volunteers). And what summer community festival would be complete without plenty of free food and beverages, water ice, great music, dancing, and of course backpacks full of school supplies. I honestly had a great time as a runner for other volunteers and registering families so that we could keep in touch for future outreach. Best of all, I was glad to be apart of the fundraising committee that helped solicit the funding, volunteers, and local vendors for the event. But I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed this time of community fellowship:

Tracy, a local, had rave reviews about the event “I enjoyed it! Everyone was very friendly, the children were very happy with it.”

Donna, another local agreed, “They couldn’t do enough for us!”

When one mom started to acquire her son’s backpack, he ran ahead of her happily exclaiming, “I’ll get it, I can get it myself!”

The volunteers were enthusiastic, and willing to help out wherever there was a need. When asked how she came to be a volunteer for the children’s game section a volunteer responded, “Actually I signed up to help with registration, but they said they were short people for games so I said that I would switch.”  There was no animosity in her response. She was already starting to think of ways they could make the game section better next year to cater better to all age groups who participated.

Not only were we able to provide outreach to families in need, but we also networked and connected with first-time volunteers, small business owners turned philanthropists, and community advocates from all walks of life. By the community coming together for a good cause were we able to foster relationships to build upon, and sustain for years to come.

Feel free to see the happy people from today’s event!

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