Mayor Greg Fischer announced on Wednesday that The Kentucky Derby Festival will add another week to its schedule. It’s called Give a Day and for one week before Thunder Over Louisville it asks individuals, businesses and non-profits to volunteer their service throughout the week.
“When I talk to people about this they all say what can I do? Where can I sign up? People would be embarrassed to say they’re against helping people so let’s use that guilt to get them out there. It would be good therapy for them,” said Fischer.
The goal is to set a record for the largest service-day effort in the world, he said.
“We mobilized a lot of people in January. We had hundreds of volunteers tackling over 100 projects in a very short period of time. So I know we can do this,” said Fischer.
A similar week of service will happen this fall, between Oct.17-23. Fischer encouraged businesses and non-profits to propose creative projects that will help the volunteer effort. The city has partnered with Metro United Way, which helped organize volunteer efforts with Fischer back in January.
Rev. Bo Stillwell is founder and CEO of Keeping It Real. It’s a non-profit organization that works on poverty issues in Louisville. He plans to organize an effort to concentrate on vacant houses in Louisville’s Westside.
“And at least one day clean maybe 10, 15, 20, 30, 100 yards up during that day if we could,” he said.
Thirty-one projects have signed up through Metro United so far, said Kelly Garvey, director of engagement initiatives for Metro United. That number is expected to double by the fall, she said.