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Service day draws a crowd
Promotion sparks help for annual MLK event
Day of Service 2 es
Ute Hartzo, background, and Beth McCord sew gowns for hospice during last year’s MLK Day of Service. - photo by File photo
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For volunteer opportunities in Forsyth, visit

For more information on the ‘Give a Day, Get a Disney Day,’ visit
More than 400 volunteers might whistle while they work during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Monday.

While many of the volunteers are there every year to give back to the community, participation has doubled this year thanks to the added incentive of a free ticket to Disneyland or Walt Disney World.

So much so that there are no more volunteer opportunities in Forsyth for the annual service day.

“The Disney promotion opened on Jan. 1, and by Jan. 3 we had close to 300 new volunteers and all of our projects were full,” said Nicole McCoy, Community Connection executive director. “Normally we’re begging for volunteers, but the … [Disney] program has been so popular that we had over 200 volunteers on our Web site volunteering the first day.”

The program, “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day,” offers a free ticket to the parks for a full day of service through Dec. 10 or until tickets run out.

Kerry Rosewall, Community Connection volunteer coordinator, said with twice as many volunteers as expected, she had to seek out more volunteer opportunities.

Those include visits to the Children’s Center for Hope & Healing, the Forsyth County Family Center to clean, and two more silverware wrap events than in past years.

“We’ve always had a very successful MLK Day of Service,” said Rosewall. “We always have great projects, but there’s always a last-minute plea to get the community out there.

“This really is an unusual situation for us, that we can’t take any more people.”

Rosewall said the organization is still taking phone calls and e-mails from people wanting to volunteer, but there’s just no more space Monday.

The good news, however, is there are still plenty of volunteer opportunities year-round that qualify for the Disney promotion.

“Last we heard there were 4 million tickets [for the promotion] nationwide,” she said. “This is a program that’s ongoing…so we are working diligently to put up new projects to accommodate people wanting to volunteer.”

McCoy said the situation is both overwhelming and wonderful, but hopes people’s desire to volunteer continues even after the Disney promotion ends.

“We want the public to really understand that volunteer opportunities were here before the Disney promotion and they’re going to be there after,” she said. “We really hope the public will continue to give up their time so that…those agencies will get volunteers they require in order to run
their programs and services, whether Disney is happening or not.”