Volunteering: Community members strive to help German neighbors on ‘Make a Difference Day’

More than 400 volunteers from U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart swarmed to local communities on Oct. 22-23 for “Make a Difference Day, ” the annual  “day of doing good” by helping others. In Stuttgart, the theme was “make a difference in your community — your German community.”

Volunteer groups prepared for months for the event, choosing a specific cause or organization and collecting items to donate, or planning an act of service.
 Several Girl Scout troops donated animal food to the Stuttgart animal shelter, or Tierheim, in Botnang. 

U.S. Africa Command personnel and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority volunteers drove two vans loaded with non-perishable foods to the Stuttgart soup kitchen, Swäbische Tafel, in downtown Stuttgart.

Defense Information Systems Agency volunteers picked up trash along Stuttgarter Strasse, between Patch Barracks and Panzer Kaserne.

A group of Marines cleaned up Panzerstrasse on Friday morning (Oct. 22) and then joined members of the  German-American Kontakt Club and  Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program to take donations to the Medical Transient Detachment at the Landstuhl Medical Center on Saturday, Oct. 23.

Fourteen volunteers from BOSS, Kontakt and the U.S. Marine Corps delivered much-needed supplies such as T-shirts, socks and personal hygiene items to the Landstuhl Medical Transient Unit. 

“I don’t know where to put it all,” said MaryAnn Phillips, volunteer coordinator for the MTU, who handed out Soldiers Angels Wings (pins) to the volunteers as a token of her appreciation. 

“This year’s program was a big success,” said Laura Jean Davis, Army Community Service volunteer coordinator for USAG Stuttgart.

“We had enough food collected to visit a second soup kitchen, the Franziskusstube that’s run by Sister Margret, and she kept saying ‘It’s Christmas, It’s Christmas.’ She had tears in her eyes,” Davis added.

During the closing ceremony later that evening, USAG Stuttgart Director of Emergency Services Maj. George Self addressed the volunteers.

“Thanks to all of you who went out today to make a difference,” he said. “I want you to remember how you started to volunteer.  Someone nudged you and said, ‘Come on, help out,’ so now you should nudge someone and get them to volunteer as well. Keep it going.”

Make a Difference Day is the largest national day of helping others held in the U.S. and U.S. communities overseas. It was established by USA Weekend Magazine in 1992 and is always held on the fourth Sunday of October.