In June 2017, Serve More passed another MILLION DOLLARS in free labor provided to central Oklahomans. It's all part of our mission to empower people to love their neighbors.Read More
You read that number right. Serve Moore volunteers have given more than $26 MILLION in time and effort to central Oklahoma in the three years since our founding.
That’s a lot of volunteer value.
As we wrap up this National Volunteer Week, we thought we’d share this one amazing stat about Serve Moore volunteers. Everybody knows (or at least assumes) that volunteering is important. If not for that volunteer, who would hand out food at the pantry? If not for that volunteer, who would paint the elderly man’s home? If not for that volunteer, who would clean up the mess of a natural disaster?
But do you know when we see the real power of the volunteer? When we get them together. Since that day in May 2013 when #ServeMoore became a movement we’ve mobilized 57,634 volunteers to renew the communities of central Oklahoma. And together they’ve done more than we ever could apart.
Together we’ve put families back into their homes.
Together we’ve renewed parks, forests, and public spaces.
Together we’ve broken the cycle of suffering and replaced it with renewed pride, energy, and hope.
Honestly? That’s not too shabby for a Hashtag-on-Twitter-turned-Local-Nonprofit! It only works because people show up, because others give cash, and because we band together in our desire to the communities of central Oklahoma renewed.
Happy National Volunteer Week, y’all.
Sometimes we take for granted that we know Serve Moore's story so well. We've lived it every day for more than two years. A few days ago, however, I got to tell the story to someone who had never heard it. That got me thinking. We have such an incredible story because we have so much for which to be thankful! So here it is — our Week of Thankfulness — our chance to express just how deeply grateful we are for this incredible story.
Our story began with people. What started as about 50 of our local friends wanting to do something — anything — to help those hurting after an EF-5 tornado tore through our communities turned into more than 50,000 people giving their time to help us recover. We never could have predicted that inviting people to #ServeMoore with us would result in so many people answering that call — let alone that a nonprofit passionate about serving and loving people would be born out of that movement.
We are thankful for the tens of thousands of volunteers who have given their time to the people of central Oklahoma. You are our first and greatest resource as a nonprofit. You are the reason we are able to do what we do. And you will continue to be the key to connecting the people who need help with the people who want to give help. In January, Serve Moore will begin to organize and train local, individual volunteers to work to renew homes and renew lives. So thank you for inspiring us. Thank you for being the beginning and the continuation of this incredible story.
If you're local to the central Oklahoma area and you're interested in volunteering regularly with Serve Moore, give us your contact info and we will email you in January with dates for our Volunteer Launch events!
Even with Oklahoma’s unpredictable weather and out-of-season rain, Serve Moore volunteers have kept busy! All of our amazing volunteers clocked over 700 volunteer hours, and in turn, saved residents over $15,800.
Throughout the week, volunteers replaced a roof in South OKC that was damaged by wind in the May 2015 storms. Even with more rain coming down, our volunteers were able to complete the entire project in only four days! They also completed work on fences throughout the city- installing posts, panels, and gates. When the rain was too heavy to work outside, our volunteers still aided at Serve Moore HQ building shelving in a storage room and prepping a new office space, as well as building shelving in a storage room and repairing drywall at Moore Community Church.
Our largest project this week involved another home that was damaged by wind and water in the May storms. Volunteers tarped the roof to prevent further leaking, since the entire home had been flooded and covered in black mold. A team helped the homeowner move any salvageable furniture to a nearby storage unit, then tore out sheetrock, carpet, insulation, and other materials that could possibly retain mold. With 115 hours of work completed, Serve Moore volunteers saved the homeowner $6,500 through damage control and mold remediation.
Even when it seems our work is done, Oklahoma weather throws us a curveball! Earlier this year, we completed a shed build that to replace what had been completely destroyed by the May 2013 tornado. Just a few weeks after completing this shed, the March 25th tornado took out the shed again! The team was able to salvage some materials, but essentially built another shed from scratch.
Even though Serve Moore volunteers give their valuable time and energy to projects like this, some find other ways to help homes in need. Serve Moore would like to give a special thanks to partners like Emmaus Baptist Church and Experience Mission for funding construction materials, the homeowners who asked for help and helped with materials but found savings in free labor, and as always, the wonderful people, organizations, and churches whose donations keep Serve Moore going!
How Volunteers Spent Their Hours
If you are interested in helping in any way you can, whether that be with time or funds for supplies, or if you are searching for help after this week's weather, contact us!
Last year, 62.6 million Americans volunteered through an organization. That's 25% of the population giving their time to help others. And that's no small chunk of time — 7.7 billion hours in all. What's more, that same year saw 138 million American informally volunteer in their communities. That's 62% of the population who watch a neighbors kids, helped someone with shopping, or mowed a neighbor's lawn. Those are indeed encouraging statistics! But, as with most things, there's room to grow.
One of the questions we get asked the most at Serve Moore is this: "How can I start something like this in my own hometown?" Let me boil the answer down to one, core idea: Volunteer for it. See, we never intended on starting an organization, we never intended on building this website, and we certainly never intended on doing this for going on 2 years! We simply wanted to volunteer to make life after a disaster a little easier on our neighbors. It just turns out that lots of other volunteers had the same idea so we did it together.
So by now you've gotta be wondering: "What do a Vermont dairy cooperative, an old '57 Chevy, and an accidental community service organization have in common?!" Well it's pretty simply actually. Our friends at Cabot Creamery in Vermont have long had a passion for volunteerism and in 2012, launched a program called Reward Volunteers to encourage people to better their communities by getting involved with local organizations. Since it began, volunteers have logged more than 200,000 hours in the program and won prizes for themselves and for the organizations they volunteered for!
Shortly after Serve Moore began, folks from Cabot Creamery encouraged us to keep up the good work. They shared resources with us (and by resources I do mean some AMAZING CHEESE which, coincidentally, you can buy right here in Oklahoma or online!), encouraged us to use Reward Volunteers, and then they had this crazy idea. They saw an old '57 Chevy at the home of one of our founding volunteers. It's a truck his granddad gave him and that, "Someday," he told himself, "I'll fix up and restore." The folks at Cabot thought out-loud, "What if we restored this old truck to give you something cool to ride around in while you answered that question you always get?! What if you encouraged others in your area to get involved in their communities by volunteering?!" (These quotes are totally paraphrases but reflect an accurate amount of awesomeness of the real conversations.)
So the project began. An old '57 Chevy was on it's way to becoming the new Serve Moore Truck and to launch the effort to encourage people to get out in their communities and make them a better place to live. Well, you should know that as soon as we started talking to local shops about doing some of that work, they couldn't wait to get on board. Loomis Automotive in OKC took on the total restoration of the truck and had it up and running after sitting for 10 years! They really are the best restoration shop in town. They brought in folks like Modern Wheel and Brake Alignment in OKC and O'Reilly's Auto Parts in OKC. And friends of ours joined in too! Topps Powder Coating in Moore, Flair Body Works in Moore, Malibu's Auto Accessories in Moore, and Dusty Gilpin from Tree + Leaf Clothing & Printshop in OKC — all these businesses have been incredible in their efforts to renew the truck and along the way help us launch this great project!
What does all this mean? It means that just like when Serve Moore got its start, we want to encourage you to volunteer in your community. All we did to start Serve Moore was to pick up a rake, put on a pair of gloves, and start picking up debris in lawns around town. We really just found a project & people that meant a lot to us and started working to help them where they needed it. Certainly, the story grew from there and lots of people ended up coming to #ServeMoore with us. But that just made the whole thing more fun!
Our goal over the next several months is to encourage you to #ServeEvenMore. Look around. Grab some friends. Do something to make someone's life a little better; something in your community a little cleaner or prettier. There are so many ways to volunteer in your community. If you're from Central Oklahoma, we know of some really great options! You might check out the Moore Food Resource Center or the Regional Food Bank. Or for a wider variety of volunteer needs, you can register at Volunteer Central Oklahoma — the United Way of Central Oklahoma's awesome volunteer hub! Not from around here? Check out Cabot's own Reward Volunteers platform where you can find non-profts from all over the country!
Here's the skinny. All you need to have to volunteer is the desire to help someone and the energy to get up and make it happen. You don't have to reinvent the wheel and you certainly don't have to start a movement. You just need to find something or someone you're passionate about and get busy working for good. Follow along as we spend the next several month encouraging volunteerism and helping you find ways to #ServeEvenMore!
Check out photos of the progression of the Serve Moore Truck at all those various shops and locations! Then see the debut in the Norman, OK '89er Day Parade on Saturday, April 18th!