Thank you to everyone that volunteered in 2020!
What a year 2020 has been! It seems like almost everything has been touched at least a little this year due to COVID. We also found out that Hands On Kirkwood (HOK) was not immune.
Early on the team recognized HOK would look differently this year. We made the tough, but necessary, decisions to not hold some of our favorite events. We skipped our Winter Clothing, Toy and Bike Store, and Winter Car Check. The Kirkwood Police Department didn’t get to hold their open house. We missed our energy-filled Opening and our calm-after-the-storm Volunteer Luncheon. We even missed that whole table of treats!
However, we were not to be deterred in our purpose or actions. Instead, we all understood that our food banks were stretched thin with schools being out for so long and lost jobs. We also knew that some of the most vulnerable – young parents and babies – needed us more than ever.
Over 450 volunteers rose to the challenge. We decided we would still do outdoor events that seemed the safest – so we continued our efforts at the Historic Father Dickson Cemetery, and we worked on the invasive honeysuckle in Kirkwood Park.
We couldn’t do indoor home projects, but it didn’t stop us from tackling the outdoor jobs. Our crews split in to two groups – one for outdoor home projects and the other for yard work. For our yard work projects, we had 63 volunteers completing 43 projects. On our outside home repair projects, we had another 16 volunteers completing 12 projects. In addition, we had several truck crews taking away yard waste and trash.
Our main focus this year was on food and baby items. How did we do it? We opened our online store a month early, dropped more bags on doors than ever before and results were unbelievable.
For the local food bank, KirkCare, we collected over 14,000 articles of food – compared to 6,600 last year! We ran out boxes. We ran out of room to sort. We ran out of room to store! For the first time, the sorting project was the LAST project to end.
Nurses for Newborns has been the recipient of our baby items for several years. This year we collected over 14,000 diapers! And the wipes, the food, shampoo, even three brand new pak-n-plays!
Both of those organizations were overwhelmed with generosity of the donors and the volunteers who made it happen.
Overall, we found a way to make it an incredible year.
Thank you once again for your willingness to care for others, and we hope to see you next year!