Utah ranks first in the nation for volunteering according to a new report released today. It’s the eighth straight year the state has received the honor.
The report published by the organization Volunteering and Civic Life in America notes that more than 900,000 people in Utah volunteered this year. Some were donating their time on Monday in a large warehouse in Salt Lake City for Candy Cane Corner. It’s an annual program that provides new donated clothing and toys for families in need each Christmas. Volunteers, like Shelley North of West Jordan were excited to help.
"Right now we’re just sorting and kind of gathering everything and cleaning it up and getting the shelves looking nice again for the parents to come in and shop," North says. "We’ll either help them shop, or we’ll wrap gifts or we will just keep stocking."
North brought her eighteen year old daughter Rashelle to help too. While Utah’s number one ranking isn’t a surprise to U Serve Utah Director LaDawn Stoddard, the steady rise in volunteer numbers each year is. She attributes much of the increase to parents.
"We’re really high.We’re close to 70 percent in parental volunteering, and that builds the cycle of keeping citizens of Utah engaged in volunteerism," Stoddard says.
The national report also shows that parents are making a big impact in schools where the largest percentage of volunteering hours is spent. Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox believes these individual efforts reflect on our state as a whole.
"We have this culture of volunteerism here that helps lift not just the poor, but helps educate our students," Cox says. "It helps our cities run efficiently, it helps our county governments work and really helps our state as a whole progress."
Cox hopes places like Candy Cane Corner and other non-profits will continue to see more volunteers all year long.