LaDonna Urick, co-founder of Mission:Change, an organization seeking to help the area homeless, urges people to "help with your hands," -- to get involved with serving those in need. Urick mentioned several opportunities for volunteers to help during the upcoming holiday season.
ALBANY -- LaDonna Urick, co-founder and project coordinator of Mission:Change in Albany, started her appearance as guest speaker at the Dougherty Rotary Club on Tuesday with a graphic six-minute video presentation. The video, primarily a series of still photographs depicting volunteers of GraceWay, The Salvation Army, Mission:Change and other volunteers serving victims of hunger, poverty and homelessness, offered a stark take on a local problem. Many of the victims were children.
When the video ended, Urick apologized for being "almost late" to the meeting. She said she and some other volunteers had been given 55 meals by a local Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, and the volunteers had been out in the community handing them out.
"We love to see people getting involved with the needs of our community," Urick said. "I think it's wonderful to donate money, food and other items. But consider helping with your hands -- just getting right in the middle of working on a house or delivering food or doing whatever needs to be done. Ask yourself how you can get connected and how you can help a person in need."
As an opportunity to volunteer, Urick announced that her organization's "monthly missions" are under way, making a variety of volunteer choices available.
On Christmas Eve, Mission:Change will be providing brunch at First Presbyterian Church on North Jackson Street downtown, Urick said. Volunteers are needed from 9 a.m. that day until noon.
According to Urick, not only will the hungry be served hot meals at the church fellowship hall, but shut-ins at Albany Heights and Hudson Malone Towers will receive meals as well. Urick said she expects about 350 meals to be served. She asked that needed items, such as scarves, hats, socks, gloves, fruits and granola bars be donated at the brunch.
A complete list of items needed appears at the Mission:Change website, www.missionchange.com.
Christmas day falls on the regular "Sunday Evening With Our Neighbors," or SEWN, according to Urick. The program is held each Sunday evening at First United Methodist Church downtown and is alternately hosted by various relief groups. Mission:Change hosts the event once each quarter.
This Dec. 25, volunteers will arrive at about 4:30 p.m., with meals served from around 5:15 p.m. in the church gym. For this event, Urick said a useful item would be crayons for about 100 children.
Mission:Change, created in 2007 by Urick and her husband, Todd, is known for its work in the cause of local homelessness and the help provided for what Urick says is the more than 400 homeless people in Albany alone. Specifically, the organization is identified with the annual "Sleep Out" on the grass near the Albany Mall, designed to bring attention to the issue of homelessness. The most recent Sleep Out was conducted a few weeks ago and raised about $7,000 for the cause.