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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: April 12, 2012


NEW CASTLE (April 12, 2012) - Gov. Jack Markell and first lady Carla Markell will begin the Delaware Week of Service on Sunday, April 15, with two events in Smyrna, the announcement of a weeklong public food drive by the Delaware National Guard and the beautification of the grounds of a historic home owned by the state.

The Markells will join members of the Guard for the announcement at noon Sunday, April 15 at the Smyrna Readiness Center, 103 Artisan Drive, Smyrna. The April 17-24 War on Hunger drive will benefit the Food Bank of Delaware.

At 1 p.m., the Markells will go to Belmont Hall, 512 S. DuPont Highway, to help and thank volunteers for planting trees and painting exterior buildings on the grounds of the historic home.

The Smyrna events begin the April 15-21 Week of Service in Delaware by calling attention to volunteerism across the state. The State Office of Volunteerism, the Governor's Commission for Community and Volunteer Services and AmeriCorps work with such nonprofit groups as the Delaware Association of Nonprofit Agencies and the United Way of Delaware to foster and encourage volunteerism.

Delawareans can search for volunteer opportunities in their area by visiting Also, organizations and nonprofits are encouraged to list events and activities in which volunteers are needed - anything from clothing drives to river clean-ups.

"Each year, volunteers donate thousands of hours of service and provide vital services to many of their fellow Delawareans," Gov. Markell said. "The Delaware Week of Service is meant to shine an even brighter spotlight on how we can make a difference in our communities by working together. It is gratifying to see so many people demonstrate the long-lasting power of giving."

"I'm grateful to all Delawareans who come out to support important volunteerism efforts throughout our state," Carla Markell said. "Volunteerism has become a vital part of our culture and helps to define our state as a caring place to live and work. From corporate involvement to one-on-one efforts, everything matters."

In the past three thee years during monthly collections, Delaware's soldiers and airmen have collected and donated more than 35,000 pounds of food items to the Food Bank of Delaware.

"As I began hearing stories of Delawareans struggling in the tough economy in 2008, I knew there was something we in the Guard could do," Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala said. "This organization is filled with warriors who readily sacrifice their time, their blood, sweat and tears during war or state emergencies. I knew that they would step up to help their fellow citizens in need throughout the year. And they have in a resounding way."

On Saturday, April 21, for Global Youth Service Day, more than 1,500 young people are expected at four Dover elementary schools and several other clean-up sites across the city.

"Volunteers provide important services to people in need, and that means more Delawareans receive the support and the help that can make a difference in their lives," said Rita Landgraf, Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, which oversee the State Office of Volunteerism. "It's wonderful to see so many young people heed the call to give back. They are building not only a commitment to service, but also a connection to the larger community."


Sunday, April 15 - Kick-Off Events

For more information on the Delaware Week of Service or Volunteer Delaware, go to, or contact Carrie Hart, Volunteer Service Administrator, at (302) 857-5006.

For more information on the Global Youth Service Day, go to , or contact Catherine Fox, marketing and media coordinator for the State Office of Volunteerism, at (302) 255-9745.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.