Back in March, Johnson set a goal of 500,000 volunteer hours by the end of the year. On Wednesday, he announced residents had already blown past that target: nearly 700,000 and counting -- despite the region’s tough times.
Johnson: “I mean, there are so many things to complain about and there’s so many challenges. But we as a city have stepped up and surpassed our goal.”
Johnson says 17,000 people have donated their time so far, up 30 percent from last year. Kathy Chow with the non-profit group Hands on Sacramento organized much of the effort. She says a lot of people who lost their jobs chose to spend their free time volunteering – and that’s been a huge help during the recession.
Chow: “A lot of the non-profits, due to the economic downturn, a lot of them have lost staff. And it’s volunteers that have come in to really take the place of some of those staff members, to help them continue to sustain their organization and build capacity in the community.”
Among the tasks volunteers helped with: building a playground in Oak Park, packing food boxes at the Salvation Army and walking dogs at the city’s animal shelter.