2020 Local Volunteer Week Award Winners Announced

(Canton, OH) April 22, 2020 – Forty-six years ago, National Volunteer Week was established to recognize friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members who generously contribute their time and talent to help our community thrive. United Way of Greater Stark County and Gatehouse Media collaborated on a special newspaper insert that was published todayinthe Canton Repository, acknowledging volunteers who go above and beyond.

“Kindness comes in many forms and we celebrate the many volunteers engaged in community service. This is how they learn first-hand the needs of the community, and how to make an impact” says United Way of Greater Stark County President and CEO Maria Heege. “Volunteers offer essential help to many organizations, places that could not run without their assistance. We appreciate and honor the committed local heroes who selflessly contribute their time and talent. We rise and fall as a community, a team. Thank you for your contributions and making a positive difference in many people’s lives.”

Collaboration of the Year Winner: Canton St. Baldrick’s Foundation was nominated by Joanel Shaffer. This year’s goal was $250,000 and the one-day event raised $320,240, with close to 700 shavees. A majority of these were students from area schools. The event is run by a team of 7 volunteers.

Volunteers of the Year Winner: Brook Harless and Laura Sams. Brook Harless was nominated by Steve Harless because “she often tells me her volunteer work is her career and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Brook is always about putting her community first.” Some of her volunteer activities include Concerned Veterans of America’s Strike Team Leader, Stark County Hunger Task Force Board of Directors and Literacy Committee Chairperson for Ohio with First Lady Fran DeWine. Laura Sams was nominated by Susan Zoky for her work with Respect Assist Minister (RAM) Ministries and Women of Courage. She helps people in need with food, clothing, shelter and transport.

The insert also features interviews with Chris Goff, United Way of Greater Stark County’s Campaign Chair for 2020 and Gary Schumacher, long-time dedicated United Way volunteer.

Learn more about the amazing volunteers in our community by reading the newspaper insert or visit uwstark.org/national-volunteer-week

Wondering about how you can make a difference during this time of crisis? If you plan on volunteering in person locally, we have guidelines available at uwstark.org/volunteer. If you are not able to volunteer in person, you can spread positivity by doing spring lawn clean-up for an elderly neighbor, making cards for nursing home residents and sharing your appreciation for teachers. Visit us online at uwstark.org/random-acts-of-kindness for more ideas and tag us on social media so we can share in the happiness. #unitedinkindness

About United Way of Greater Stark County
United Way of Greater Stark County fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. We win by living United. By forging unlikely partnerships. By finding new solutions to old problems. By mobilizing the best resources. And by inspiring individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crisis. Our mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our communities in Greater Stark County. In order to live better, we must live United. For more information about United Way of Greater Stark County visit www.uwstark.org. Offices are at 401 Market Avenue North, Suite 300, Canton, Ohio 44702. (330) 491-0445.