National Volunteer Week celebrated with a week of service at UrbanPromise

UrbanPromise will kick off its first annual “Make A Difference Week of Service” on Monday April 13 in a very big way; hosting local companies and organizations to their East Camden campus and South Camden Camp Freedom for some hands-on help with a variety of projects. 

“We have groups and volunteers here all the time,” said Pamela Foxx, Human Resources and Volunteer Manager at the East Camden campus.  “But this is different.  Each day for six days a different organization is coming and focusing on a specific project.”  The week long Volunteer extravaganza is scheduled for National Volunteer Week, established by President Nixon in 1974.

Volunteers will come from Companies including Wegmans, TD Bank, Starbucks and Lockheed Martin, the not for profit organization Touch the World, and the Rutgers University Alumni Rowing Club.  Some are long-time partners with UrbanPromise, some are coming for the first time, some projects will involve directly working with kindergarten through 8th grade students at Camden Forward School or high-schoolers at UrbanPromise Academy, and others will be doing maintenance projects and springtime landscaping around campus and at Camp Freedom, which serves children in South Camden.  At the end of the week more than 100 volunteers will have visited the campus, worked with students and had an impact on the facilities at UrbanPromise.

One particular project will involve 40 sixth through eighth grade middles school students who will take a road trip on Thursday April 16 to Lockheed Martin in Moorestown, a long-standing partner with UrbanPromise.  The students will have the opportunity to tour labs, participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) projects and interact with working engineers.

UrbanPromise has worked for many years with Lockheed Martin.  “They send volunteers, donate computers, provide holiday turkeys and even send professionals to judge our science fair,” said Foxx.

Wegmans plans to send about 20 volunteers—department managers and team leaders from their Cherry Hill store—on Tuesday to get their hands dirty digging in the UrbanPromise community garden and helping with the ongoing restoration of Johnson Cemetery, the resting place of many African American veterans of the Civil War.

Not only will they provide needed labor, getting the garden ready to grow food for the community and helping clear a path through the cemetery, they will tour the kitchen at UrbanPromise and learn about their burgeoning UrbanChefs program.

“It is a perfect fit,” said Tracy Flood, from Wegmans’ Human Resources. “People think we are just a grocery store, but we have a huge culinary program and highly trained chefs, it is a great tie in. We try to make a difference in every community we serve, so this is a great partnership.”