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Do-Gooders—Many locals respond to bad news by pitching in to help

May 1st, 2013 Posted in Arts and Life

By Jessica Sonderegger

LOGAN—After times of national crisis and despair, it can be difficult to look past the evil that threatens our neighborhoods and communities. Events such as September 11th, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and the Boston Marathon bombings are all events that shake our spirits and convince us that we are living in a scary, unpredictable world. But it is because of those events that we should look for the good and find solace in our very own communities.

And there is good being done all throughout the Cache Valley: a fun run to raise money for a local soup kitchen, an improv comedy battle to raise money for the fight against pornography, and a bike mob to raise money for a local motorcycle accident victim.

“It’s been amazing to see people that I do not even know help and give of their time and efforts so willingly,” said Utah State University public relations student David Grange. “I am very grateful.”

Grange was gravely injured in a motorcycle accident in November that required extensive brain and reconstructive surgeries. Within days of the accident, his friends established the “Grange Donation” and began orchestrating events to raise money in attempt to help him and his family meet overwhelming medical bills.

Since then, the fundraising efforts have been adopted by various USU student organizations, and events continue to be organized in the name of the “Grange Donation.” Any of the proceeds that Grange doesn’t need for his accident expenses will be donated to an InterMountain Health Care program that financially assists young, married students struggling with medical bills.

“Either way, it’s a win-win and things are paid forward,” Grange said. “It has been amazing to see so many help so earnestly.”

And there’s more: A local winter clothing drive for Afghani children in need, USU sororities sisters promoting body image awareness in an attempt to combat eating disorders, and a group of students organizing monthly events to help a local woman from being sent to a nursing home.

That beneficiary of local support is Kim Maibaum, a USU alumnus, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease nine years ago. Against a survival rate that is normally two to three years, she has beaten the odds; her one wish is that she can continue to do so, from the comfort of her home. She doesn’t want to be sent to a nursing facility, she doesn’t’ want to relocate at all—she just wants to stay home.

“Keep Kim Home,” a group of 10 USU students led by Anika Jeppson, is trying to honor her wishes by raising money to help.

And there’s still more evidence of local efforts to do good for strangers: the Community Abuse Prevention Services Agency (CAPSA) reports a steady flow of donations and more than 40 active volunteers; the Cache Humane Society has too many volunteers and no room for new applications; and the Cache Community Food Pantry says it has seen a rise in volunteers and has received enough financial donations to complete its new building on South Main Street.

CAPSA volunteer Rebecca Tanner says she spends 20 hours a week managing the crisis line, organizing donations and going on home visits. She says five to six volunteers are available on a weekly basis, and another 40 stop by at their convenience.

The Cache Human Society’s Bailee Clawson says she is excited by help the shelter as attracted, and she’s appreciative of the efforts of their volunteers.

Matt Whitaker, director of the local food pantry, said he doesn’t know if the rise in volunteerism is due to their new building, or if the construction of their new building was a success because of the rise of volunteerism. Regardless, he has seen an increase in volunteer work.

“Sometimes I have a need for a lot of volunteers and sometimes I don’t,” Whitaker said. “A lot of times they just stop in.”

In a world that is so often clouded by reports of evil doings, tidings of joy are all around. Volunteers are flooding our local service centers, and individuals are raising money to uplift their friends, neighbors and classmates. Where we have the ability and the reasoning to focus on the bad, it may bring some much-needed hope if we look for the good.


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