DENVER (CBS4) – Xcel Energy is hosting a Day of Service on Sept. 6, and the energy utility is calling on all Coloradans to volunteer.
For the last four years, Xcel Energy has partnered with various city, community and non-profit organizations to create volunteer projects that can be accomplished in just a few hours on a Saturday morning. Some of the projects require some physical labor, and others are more about making a connection with people.
“We have a project here at Volunteers of America. We’ll have some volunteers come in and cook food, serve them their food and just have a general conversation with them, and just visit with them,” said Jerome Davis, regional vice president for Xcel Energy.
Many of the projects are outdoors and include flood restoration, park renovation, and trail maintenance.
“There will be a little bit of muscle-building, but not all of them. We’ve got projects you can have little kids on. Some of them have age restrictions, but you can bring little kids on many of the projects,” Davis told CBS4.
Kids are an important component of Day of Service. Xcel encourages its employees to bring their families and make it a fun family outing.
“One thing that’s important about getting kids…understanding the concepts and values of service…service to community early and getting that in their system early,” Davis explained.
Last year 2,200 volunteers did 5,000 hours of work at nearly 40 projects with the estimated value of that service being $130,000. This year the day will be even bigger. There are nearly 60 projects all over the state and Xcel is hoping to see nearly 3,000 participants.
“They think they were coming to assist and help out others. End of the day, I hear so often, ‘This was a great opportunity for me. I didn’t know about that issue and I want to help out more,’ ” Davis said.
Xcel Energy started Day of Service as a way to commemorate the 9/11 attacks. It was started as an employee-only effort and in its first year there were 600 volunteers.
“We serve about 65-percent of the service territory in Colorado. Our employees work, live and play in these communities. We volunteer all the time. Last year, we had over 27,500 volunteer hours,” Davis added.
At one project in 2013, volunteers were cleaning up a park in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood. Davis tells a story about neighbors coming out to see what they were doing, and then offering them fruit and cookies.
“Just being there that day…just the touch and feeling of seeing those neighbors saying, ‘Thank you for supporting us and helping us out. We appreciate it.’ It made the day for me,” Davis said.
In 2013, Xcel Energy opened up Day of Service to the general public. Many CBS4 staff members participated in the communities where they live. The energy utility is hoping that Coloradans will make Day of Service an annual tradition for their families.
“Really, sort of making this the signature legacy day where all of Colorado comes together and we volunteer for three hours on a weekend to improve the state,” Davis explained.
Xcel Energy’s Day of Service is Saturday, Sept. 6, from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
To sign up go to Xcel Energy’s Day of Service website.