Volunteers rock! They do amazing things and make an incredible difference in the community.  April is National Volunteer Month, so United Way Suncoast is honoring the simple, selfless act of volunteering.

United Way HandsOn Suncoast (United Way) is the volunteer center operated by United Way Suncoast which activates volunteers and organizes volunteer projects spanning five counties (DeSoto, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota). Volunteers can visit www.VolunteerSuncoast.org, a free site provided by United Way, to search for volunteer opportunities that fit their personal passions – sort of like a matchmaking service for volunteerism.

And many meet their match, indeed! In 2016 alone:

•    45,723 volunteer hours were completed by individuals.
•    This equates to a value of more than $1,077,245* in added value back to the community.

“The volunteers in our community are incredible and inspiring. In an average year, we work with roughly 7,000 individual volunteers, and many of them come back week after week for more volunteer work,” said Nicholas Castro, United Way Suncoast’s volunteer engagement strategies director. “They may not wear capes, but the thousands of volunteers in our community are true superheroes who save the day for individuals across the Suncoast.”

The impact of the thousands of volunteers “paying it forward” is far-reaching and greatly appreciated, yet often goes unrecognized. Throughout National Volunteer Month, United Way Suncoast is proud to acknowledge area volunteers for their compassion and philanthropy. One way is an awards dinner recognizing the area’s leading volunteers by total hours contributed and leadership exemplified.

“I feel blessed to be able to help people find rewarding volunteer experiences,” added Castro. “I can’t tell you how incredible it is to see people working together while volunteering, sharing in the joy of helping others”

United Way Suncoast provides www.VolunteerSuncoast.org as a free resource to non profit partners to list available volunteer needs. United Way also organizes community and corporate projects and events as a service to the community.

(*The Independent Sector, a leadership forum for charities, foundations and corporate giving programs, calculates the value of a volunteer in 2016 at $23.56 per hour.)

About United Way Suncoast

United Way Suncoast staff, volunteers and trusted community partners connect people, create change, and impact lives in DeSoto, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota counties by developing, enhancing and implementing services and programs to help create a stronger, more vibrant community. United Way Suncoast is changing the community’s story by helping to break the cycle of generational poverty through educational programs that give children the skills to succeed and help adults achieve long-term financial stability, as well as provide support services to those who need it most.

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•    To find Suncoast-area volunteer opportunities, visit www.volunteersuncoast.org.

•    For more information, please call 941.366.2686 (Sarasota office) or 813.274.0933 (Tampa office), or visit www.unitedwaysuncoast.org.