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Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetups Taking Short Break Before Work Begins Again in August

Numinous Coffee Roasters in Marble Falls hosted the third Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetup on May 26. After coffee, lemonade, and a brief introduction from the three participating nonprofits — Candlelight Ranch, Hill Country Humane Society, and The Phoenix Center of Marble Falls — the volunteers left for a day of work. During the first three Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetups, participants contributed about 570 volunteer hours. Go to 101HighlandLakes.com/MEETUP to learn more about the events and to get on the email list for future meetups. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

MARBLE FALLS — As the last volunteer wrapped up work at Candlelight Ranch during the third Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetup on May 26, organizers had a chance to look back at the first three meetups and their impact.

“I’m not going to say that I’m surprised, because this is such a loving and caring community, but the response has been amazing,” said Amber Weems, publisher of The Picayune and general manager of KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune. “We had great people come out and volunteer. And, we had several who came to all three of the meetups. I just can’t say thank you enough to all the volunteers, the nonprofits who participate, and the hosts.”

Weems said the three meetups are just the start of what she sees as a longterm project, but organizers are taking the summer off with plans to hit the ground running again during the Back-to-School Blast on Aug. 4 at Marble Falls Middle School.

Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetup coordinator Cade Rice believes the first three events laid the groundwork for something that’s going to grow. A break over the summer gives him and others time to review the spring meetups and build upon those as well as spread the word.

“We’ve had a great spring with the meetups, but it’s time to take a little break for the summer,” Rice said. “Then, in August, we’ll pick it all up at the Back-to-School Blast. We’re going to keep working to make this into something that will potentially transform participating nonprofits and the volunteers who come out and make it happen. I love our volunteers.”

One change for the next will include changing from monthly meetups to quarterly events.

People can keep up to date with what’s going on by subscribing to the Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetup email at 101HighlandLakes.com/MEETUP.

Charitable nonprofits can also learn how they can get involved at the same web address.

The first three events drew a total of roughly 190 volunteers. The biggest turnout was for the inaugural one in March with approximately 80 volunteers, followed by 50 in April, then about 60 in May. With each volunteer putting in an average of three hours of service, that comes out to roughly 570 volunteer hours. While folks were invited to attend the meetup gatherings on the morning of the event, many people headed right to the sites and went to work.

Which brings up another part of the Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetups that made it possible: the monthly host. Three local businesses — Save the World Brewing Co., Chick-fil-A of the Highland Lakes, and Numinous Coffee Roasters — hosted the Saturday morning gatherings, which allowed volunteers and nonprofit representatives to mingle before work began.

“The business hosts make the volunteer meetups not only possible but special,” Weems added. “Getting together on a Saturday morning gave us all a chance to get to know each other a bit, and, I think, we all made some more friends because of it.”

While the Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetups are taking the summer off, there are still plenty of opportunities to volunteer at local nonprofits. Just go to 101HighlandLakes.com/VOLUNTEER for a list of organizations.

Businesses and charitable nonprofits looking to participate in the Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetup should email Rice at cade@thepicayune.com for more information.

“I can’t thank the volunteers, business supporters, and community enough,” Weems added. “As much as I love the lakes and natural beauty of the Highland Lakes, it’s the people who continue to demonstrate God’s love through their service who make this such a special place to live.”

daniel@thepicayune.com

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