WARREN - If you haven't already, it's time again to begin planning your volunteer work for the ninth annual Tribune Chronicle Make A Difference Day.
Dubbed the "national day of caring and volunteerism," this year's event will mark its 21st year on Oct. 22. The event is sponsored by USA Weekend Magazine and the Hands-On Network, and supported by Newman's Own, the food company founded by actor Paul Newman.
Past projects have included collecting food, clothing, toys and other items for area food banks, missions, and troops serving overseas.
Also popular are cleanups at area parks, along roadways and at social service organizations, as well as home improvement projects for various individuals.
Since the event began in Trumbull County, the Tribune's sponsorship has twice been recognized through national awards, which have brought in $20,000. In 2004, USA Weekend Magazine recognized 2003's event as one of the nation's best and presented the Tribune with $10,000. In 2007, the Tribune received the $10,000 Encore Award for a past national winner that increased its efforts in a subsequent year.
In both cases, the awards were matched by the Trumbull 100, which brought the total awards to $40,000.
The Tribune is no longer eligible for awards, but Community Events Organizer Sue Shafer said other local volunteers or projects can still win and should register with ServeOhio.org so they may be considered for the prize.
Shafer said the Tribune will continue to work with local service agencies and nonprofit organizations to make the event as successful as in previous years while meeting this year's community needs.
"We're continuing our partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank because there's a lot of hungry families and there are many in our Valley who have fallen on hard economic times," Shafer said.
The Tribune will be running stories each Sunday highlighting area projects, and Shafer said everyone should plan to attend a volunteer picnic at the Warren Community Amphitheatre from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 22.
The project registration form is in today's Tribune Chronicle, and the deadline to register is Oct. 14.
Those interested in volunteering should contact Shafer at 330-841-1696.