Help others while you get fit.
Who says exercise has to be boring or self-absorbed?
- Huntington’s “Litter Gitter” volunteers adopt their own block in a block-by-block cleanup program. Retiree Dick Cobb started it with a bunch of neighbors, cleaning his own block. Three years later, they had 4,300 volunteers in Huntington and are spreading to other West Virginia communities.
- The Burrito Riders of Huntington make burritos and deliver them to homeless people on bikes.
- In Charleston, volunteer raise more than 3,000 pounds of fresh, freezable produce per year for Manna Meal soup kitchen. “And let me tell you, that garden is good exercise,” said volunteer Ann Garcelon.
- In Buckhannon, community members helped save a historic house with donated labor, after the Create Buckhannon group decided to take on the project.
- In Harrisville, Ritchie County, volunteers rehabbed a crumbling old gym and turned it into a community center.
- All over the state, Adopt-a-Highway volunteers walk literally thousands of miles of rural road a year, picking up litter along their stretch of adopted highway.
- Neighborhood Watch involves a lot of walking.
Why not encourage community service exercise in your community?
- Get a group together and make a list of possibilities: Such opportunities could include group street cleanups, building rehabs, stream bank cleanups, a community effort to raise food for a food bank, planting and tending gardens and mowing lawns for the elderly, etc.
- If you have a regular community conversation group, it’s a lot easier to get this going. See the Try This community conversation page.
- Create an online way of posting those opportunities. Create Buckhannon has a listserv that sends out calls for volunteers when needed. They say their response rate is high from people who come to the weekly meetings.
Get your exercise while gardening: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2012/11/26/healthy-multitasking-get-your-exercise-while-gardening
- Another idea: Exercise while distributing fliers: Exercise while distributing flyers – Logemann Community Center: http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp209712.jsp
- Exercise while doing neighborhood watch: http://hillsandheights.org/2012/03/28/forest-hill-neighborhood-watch-daily-walks
- Create Huntington has a “Litter-gitter Adopt your block” program. They give you a litter stick that grabs litter, and you pledge to help clean your block. They started out cleaning one block, now have 4,300 volunteers and are spreading to other cities. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adopt-YOUR-Block-Be-a-Litter-Gitter-Huntington-WV/150391718348761?hc_location=timeline
- Free litter stick, just for the asking! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adopt-YOUR-Block-Be-a-Litter-Gitter-Huntington-WV/150391718348761?id=150391718348761&sk=notes
- The Burrito Riders of Huntington deliver burritos by bike to the homeless, The same group plans to open a shop where they will house and repair donated bikes to give them away to people who need them. https://www.facebook.com/BurritoRidersWV
- Make It Shine program: http://www.dep.wv.gov/dlr/reap/wvmis/Pages/default.aspx For two weeks in April, Make It Shine volunteers can get help conducting cleanups on public lands. The program supplies gloves, bags, hauling (in conjunction with the DOH), and landfill fees.
- Adopt-a-Highway volunteers walk thousands of miles of road per year, picking up litter. http://www.dep.wv.gov/dlr/reap/aah/Pages/default.aspx
- Volunteer West Virginia! West Virginia’s Online Volunteer Matching Network, receives about 2,000 hits a month. About 400 organizations that want volunteers are registered, including Adopt-a-Highway, Boys and Girls Clubs and Main Street. About 4,000 individuals that like to do volunteer work are registered. The data base is set up by county. http://www.volunteerwv.org/2/index.cfm. Volunteer West Virginia staff say a county could post volunteer opportunities as “community service exercise possibilities.”