The Arc Jacksonville and Sulzbacher have a unique partnership – two nonprofits with different missions, supporting each other. The Arc Jacksonville serves and advocates for individuals with intellectual and developmental differences to achieve their full potential and participate in community life. Sulzbacher empowers homeless and at-risk women, children and men through health, housing and income services thereby restoring hope and self-sufficiency. Two years ago, these organizations partnered to provide Arc program participants with inclusive and consistent opportunities to give back to their community in a meaningful way, while providing regular volunteers for Sulzbacher.
Every Tuesday, three individuals from The Arc Jacksonville volunteer in the Sulzbacher kitchen. These incredible volunteers create bagged lunches for clients and residents who miss the standard lunchtimes. Through the amazing support of volunteers, Sulzbacher is able to serve up to 1,500 meals daily to hungry and homeless neighbors in Jacksonville. The consistency of Arc volunteers makes it easier for Sulzbacher staff to plan and organize lunch plans.
Volunteering breaks down barriers and reaffirms that there is a place for everyone to contribute. The Arc’s participants received a warm welcome from the start, and continue to enjoy the atmosphere and structure of working as a team to assemble sandwiches and plate sides. They especially love listening to Mr. Dee’s playlist while they volunteer. This experience not only gives back to the community but provides a sense of purpose and gratification to the volunteers.
In observance of the 25th annual MLK Day of Service on Monday, January 20, 30 volunteers from The Arc Jacksonville prepared and served meals at Sulzbacher. The MLK Day of Service encouraged all Americans to improve communities through volunteer service. This MLK Day was the launch of an expanded partnership between The Arc and Sulzbacher, which included additional volunteer days throughout 2020 to serve more food and plant vegetables in Sulzbacher’s community garden. With the help of volunteer groups like The Arc Jacksonville, Sulzbacher is able to ensure that healthy meals are hot and ready for anyone in need of a meal.
This event was funded through a subgrant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through its AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs and leads the nation’s volunteer efforts. The Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that leads MLK Day of Service, selected The Arc and a small group of other organizations, including The Arc Jacksonville, to plan and participate in volunteer projects that help unite communities across the nation.
With the support of United Way, agencies like The Arc Jacksonville and Sulzbacher are able to help families and individuals in Northeast Florida have hope and reach their full potential. To learn how you can join United Way in the fight for community change, visit unitedwaynefl.org/get-involved.