Local Volunteers Recognized At Ceremony
This week, April 15-21, is National Volunteer Week. For the last 31 years, thanks to incredible support by BP, the Anchorage Association of Volunteer Administration has recognized outstanding volunteer programs and volunteers in our community with plaques and cash awards as part of this national celebration. On April 19, AAVA’s Golden Heart Volunteer Services Awards program will distribute volunteer awards in five categories at the Golden Heart banquet at the Hilton in Anchorage.
Nominations from AAVA member programs are evaluated by an independent panel of local judges. The winners for this year’s awards are:
Outstanding Business or Organization Award: The 2012 winner, nominated by Beans Café, is the Anchorage Clay Arts Guild. For 18 years, Guild members have made and donated thousands of hours to create tens of thousands of bowls the Empty Bowl Project, a Beans Café fundraiser. Empty Bowl events have raised more than $1.1 million to support Bean’s Café’s mission of feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless.
Community Service Award: Dorothy Lazar was nominated by Catholic Social Services for her many years volunteering for a number of CSS’s programs including the Baby Boutique, the Refugee Assistance and Immigration Services, HUGSS (Help Us Give School Supplies), Coats for Kids, St. Francis House Food Pantry, and Helping Holiday.
Youth Community Service Award: JJ McWhorter’s support of the Salvation Army is pretty phenomenal. The 17-year-old autistic girl volunteers for the annual Pancake Breakfast and, last summer, logged nearly 250 hours helping with data entry and sorting food. Her most notable contribution has been to make and donate more than 3,000 pairs of earrings to the nonprofit which uses them as client gifts, Bingo prizes and sale items in local Family Stores.
Volunteer Program Award: This award goes to three different programs each year. This year’s winners are:
- Children’s Lunchbox: Using hundreds of volunteers groups and individuals, the program prepared more than 350 meals daily to Anchorage students during last school year, and 500 daily in the summer. Their “Just a Little Extra” weekend food programs provided 1,480 students weekly with a backpack with three or four healthy meals to eat at home.
- The Alaska Bar Association: Two legal clinics in 2011 provided 471 needy clients with free legal advice. In all, 231 volunteers logged 950 volunteer hours donating $87,550 worth of legal services.
- CSS St. Francis House Food Pantry: The largest food pantry in the state provided a three-day emergency supply of food to 13,655 people in fiscal year 2011, a 30 percent increase over the previous year. Volunteers logged 10,772 hours of service for this project.