AU groups join “Operation Weatherization” in the program’s 11th year.
United Way of Madison County is hosting its 11th-annual Operation Weatherization event on Saturday, Nov. 4. Three AU social clubs will be volunteering their time to assist United Way in preparing the homes of low-income residents in the community for the harsh winter weather.
Kim Rogers-Hatfield, vice president of engagement at United Way of Madison County, says that AU has a history of involvement with Operation Weatherization.
“There have been multiple teams every year from AU, going all the way back to the beginning [of Operation Weatherization],” said Rogers-Hatfield. “On average, we have 15-20 teams, and AU usually has about six per year.” Those teams include 5-12 people each.
Many student organizations and social clubs have participated in previous years. This year, AU social-service clubs Camarada, Dativus and Avanti Boosters are signed up to volunteer.
Students will visit homes that have already been selected through United Way partners. They will separate into teams to perform simple weatherization tasks such as caulking windows, wrapping water heaters with insulation and installing door sweeps.
Although simple, the efforts make a significant difference in the community by increasing warmth in houses and reducing energy costs for people in need during the coldest months of the year.
Since its beginning 11 years ago, Operation Weatherization has offered free winter preparation services to 85 homes in Madison County.
As a tradition, social-service club Camarada participates in Operation Weatherization each fall.
Emily Fulk, who currently serves as Camarada’s service coordinator, said that the opportunity to serve the community every year is one of her favorite aspects of being involved in a social club.
“Being a social -service club on this campus has so many amazing perks, one of those being the fact that we can give back to the community and show Christ through small and large actions,” said Fulk. “I am forever grateful for AU being a place for servant leadership.”
Colin Bailey, service coordinator of men’s social-service club Avanti Boosters, says that involvement in the project helps the club to exemplify one of their three club pillars, service.
“Boosters having the ability to serve members of the Anderson community through Operation Weatherization is a fantastic opportunity for our members,” said Bailey. The experience also serves as an opportunity for members of the club to bond.
Dativus service coordinator Andrew Pancol added that service outside the AU campus is one of the goals social-service clubs strive to achieve.
“As a club, we like to make it a priority to come together to help the people in the Anderson community that are less fortunate than us,” said Pancol. “This serves as a great way for us to bond as brothers, while doing what God put us on this earth to do in serving those around us.”
Operation Weatherization also gives students the opportunity to meet the residents of the home they are volunteering at and to hear their personal stories and experiences.
Katie Lawrence, a member of Camarada, has participated in Operation Weatherization in recent years.
“The largest part about serving is it humbles you,” says Lawrence. “I loved serving the community in this was to not only weatherize people’s homes, but also to get to know their stories.”
Although social clubs have a history of involvement with the project, volunteers are not required to be affiliated with a club or organization to participate. Anyone with a desire to help those in need in the community are welcome to join the effort.
“We’ve had teams from dorm halls before,” said Rogers-Hatfield. “It can be a group of friends that go to the Haven to eat dinner every day.”
The United Way of Madison County has extended the deadline for volunteer groups to sign up to participate.
“I encourage anyone to sign up, no matter how late,” said Rogers-Hatfield. “We will find something for them to do.”
Registration forms can be submitted online at the United Way of Madison County website. Volunteers will meet at 10 a.m. at South Meridian Church of God on Saturday, Nov. 4.