Partners in Outreach was looking to fill 16 openings for the Martin Luther King Jr. service day at their Exton warehouse. When 28 volunteers of all ages arrived, they were thrilled. With many helping hands, limited facility space, and thousands of items to sort, they got right to work.
Partners in Outreach began its mission with Operation Easter Outfit, collecting and distributing Easter outfits for the underserved children of Chester County. The organization has since grown to support the community through 5 major programs: Operation Easter Outfit and Easter Basket, Summer Camp Partners, Classroom Reading Partners, and REAL Tutoring. The programs are 100 percent volunteer-run, providing service days for local students, sports teams, and clubs.
The Martin Luther King Jr. service day was in preparation for the upcoming programs.
“When we prepare about 1,500 Easter baskets, each basket has 12-15 items. So you’re looking at about 20,000 items that need to be counted, sorted, and stored,” said Maryanne Parsons, founder of PIO. “You have to have everything prepared so when the volunteers come in, we can get moving!”
Volunteers hauled, unpacked, and organized over 2,000 new books generously donated by Barnes and Noble through their Holiday book drive.
“We had two retired teachers dividing books into reading levels and a high school student doing most of the heavy lifting,” said Parsons.
An essential task of the day was taking inventory of the supplies in the warehouse. Easter baskets include not only a new book but a pair of socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, various school supplies, toys, a water bottle, and a few healthy food items. With items inventoried, additional supplies could be purchased.
KPMG generously donated a $10,000 grant through its FIRST Book Program. The grant will fund additional books that will be distributed to students through the Easter basket program, summer camp packs, REAL tutoring, and Classroom Reading Partners. Operation Easter Basket assembly will take place on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 at a central location in West Chester.
For information on having your school or organization participate in the Easter basket assembly service weekend, email email@example.com.
To learn more about, volunteer, or donate, visit Partners in Outreach.