June 20, 2012 — The MSUCorps/AmeriCorps program was presented with the “Make A Difference Day” award during the annual Governor’s Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service in a ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion.
USA Weekend’s Make A Difference Day is an annual event on the fourth Saturday in October. Since its inception in 1992, corporations, charitable organizations, government leaders and ordinary citizens rally to provide a host of service projects to benefit their communities.
The Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service holds an annual contest between Kentucky AmeriCorps programs as part of the Make a Difference Day effort. Each program collects canned foods in the counties they serve which are then donated to local shelters, food banks, backpack programs and schools.
This year, the 29 MSUCorps members collected more than 20 tons of nonperishable food items. This equates to 23,080 ounces of food per member. These efforts allowed area food banks to feed 83,664 Kentuckians. This is the second time MSUCorps has received this award. The corps also won in 2008.
The MSUCorps Program has been at MSU since 1994 with more than 640 members serving in 23 counties through the years. The mission of the program is to increase the educational success of high risk school-age children and youth by providing tutoring in math and reading. In addition, MSUCorps members volunteer for multiple community service projects to strengthen their communities.
First Lady Jane Beshear and Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Deputy Secretary Eric Friedlander presented the awards. This is a traveling award which goes to the Kentucky AmeriCorps program that collects the most food each year. If a program wins three years in a row, it is then theirs to keep.
“These annual awards put a much-deserved spotlight on the people who quietly but resolutely serve others with no expectations for recognition or acclaim,” said Beshear. “These honorees represent the thousands of Kentuckians who volunteer. They serve as an inspiration for us all to find a passion in service and give sincerely.”
Mary Claire Williams is the program director for the MSUCorps/AmeriCorps program and has challenged her corps to win the award for the next two years.
“Our corps accepts this award on behalf of the citizens in the communities that we serve who took time to collect and donate tons of food to benefit local food banks and back pack programs. There is a dire need to help feed children and families in our communities where the poverty rate is higher than the state and national average,” said Williams.
Information is available from Williams by calling 783-2719.