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Fall is a great time to lend a helping hand

Summer is coming to a close, vacations are ending and children are preparing to return to school. Perhaps you thought about volunteering this summer – you wanted to serve food to the homeless or visit children in a hospital.

But summer flew by quickly, and you didn’t find the time. Now there is no time to volunteer because there are jobs to do, carpools to drive and meetings to attend.

No matter how busy you are, volunteer opportunities are available that can fit your schedule. Many nonprofit agencies host fund-raising special events that require hundreds of volunteers.

Agencies usually request that volunteers work three to five weekend hours. Many volunteers enjoy working at events because they are a short-term commitment. Events also are enjoyable because they often are held outside and feature sports or entertainment.

Special events are ideal volunteer opportunities for families and groups. Often, parents can take their children to help as they register runners, take tickets or distribute prizes. Agencies also welcome companies, churches, civic organizations and other groups. Groups can serve together as they host rest stops or direct parking.

Listed below are a few of the many upcoming special events. For information about these and other volunteer opportunities, call the Volunteer Center of Dallas at 826-6767.

  • The first Minyard Buddy Run benefits the Leukemia Association of North Central Texas. The 5K and 10K runs are being held Sept. 18 in honor of the late M.T. “Buddy” Minyard, who founded the Leukemia Association in 1970 after his wife died from leukemia in 1967. The association is a voluntary nonprofit health agency that provides funding to Texas-based institutions for leukemia research.

The run will begin at the Preston Forest Shopping Center and follow a course through a nearby residential neighborhood.

Sandra McGee, executive director of the Leukemia Association, says she expects more than 600 runners to participate. Registration information is available at all Minyard’s stores, Baylor University Medical Center and area sports stores.

The Leukemia Association will donate proceeds from the event to the Baylor University Medical Foundation for leukemia research.

More than 150 volunteers are needed to make the run a success. On the day of the event, volunteers can register runners, hang banners and signs, and serve water and other refreshments. Volunteers can cheer for runners at the starting line and along the course and congratulate them at the finish line. All volunteers will receive T-shirts. Volunteer orientation is scheduled Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.

  • Learn about other cultures when you volunteer at Cultural Fest ’93, sponsored by the Multi-Ethnic Heritage Foundation. This annual event is a multicultural festival featuring a variety of ethnic entertainment, food and arts and crafts. The festival is scheduled Sept. 26 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at Artist Square in the Downtown Arts District.

Volunteers are needed early in the day to register vendors and help prepare for the event. Volunteers also are needed throughout the day to provide information and coordinate activities in the children’s area.

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