Volunteers enrich Orcas on National Community Service Day

The group of volunteers helping to clean up the Orcas School grounds.

On the day that our country celebrated the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., Americans were also asked to volunteer time in their communities as part of National Community Service Day.

On a sunny Monday, Jan. 19, the Orcas Island Community Foundation and Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce presented several community service opportunities.

More than 25 people showed up for a work party at the Orcas Island School District to clean up the flower beds in between the elementary school and the administration office, as well as spruce up and expand the vegetable garden in preparation for the Farm to Cafeteria program.

“From start to finish it was about three and a half hours,” said Hilary Canty, executive director of the Community Foundation.

“We had a wide range of age groups as well as people who were new to the community and new families with kids in school.”

Canty says the mood of the day was enthusiastic.

“People were talking about how hopeful they felt about the new administration. And they were happy there was a call for service here on Orcas.”

Several volunteers also helped out at the Orcas Island Historical Museum with winter clean-up and soil amending around the historical museum buildings.

Orcas Montessori School had a parent work party for their garden. They dug up the garden and built planting boxes.

“We gave it a facelift,” said Theresa Chocano. “Our garden is underway and we are still looking for help with donations of good soil and compost. We are also looking for a local gardener to take us under their wing.”

This is the first year the Community Foundation has organized a service day, but Canty hopes to see it become a more frequent event.

“We’re trying to figure out a way to start a volunteer board where organizations could list what they need done and volunteers could list their skills and then we would match them. We’re not sure if the foundation is the one to do it or how we will play a part. But it would be nice if this wasn’t a once-a-year opportunity but happened more often.”

For more information, contact Hilary Canty at 376-6423.