Upcoming volunteer expo will link helpers to local organizations

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There are scores of organizations in Kilgore always on the lookout for volunteers – from school boosters to civic clubs, service groups, charities, church outreaches, event planners and nonprofits.

People throughout the community invest countless already, but opportunities to help are legion and local officials suspect there’s an untapped resource of residents looking for the chance to find a program that fits their skills and passions perfectly.

The challenge, for Sonya Trout, is to link those eager to help with the groups in need of an assist. The solution is coming Tuesday, Sept. 4, with a new ‘volunteer expo’ in the Texan Theater.

As the City of Kilgore’s special events and Main Street coordinator, Trout spearheads a myriad of public events and activities, more every month, each executed with the efforts of city staffers and a small army of volunteers. Her position also links to other groups throughout the community – old and new, established and grassroots – who are investing time and energy in bettering the city in a variety of ways, whether they’re feeding people, building homes, entertaining, fundraising or sending children back-to-school with full backpacks and new shoes.

It all takes a lot of effort.

“There are a number of organizations that are in Kilgore that are in desperate need of volunteers,” she said Friday, “and just new people to welcome to their organization.”

The key is to give potential volunteers the means to discover all the options available to them.

“Kilgore has a lot of civic pride and we just want to provide opportunities for people to give back to Kilgore.”

Hosted by the City of Kilgore in a joint effort with other local organizations, the 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. expo that Tuesday evening will fill the Texan Theater with a potluck smorgasbord from groups looking for help – skilled and unskilled, young and old, all those ready to lend a hand to a cause they believe in.

“They can find out how they can help, how they can volunteer or just learn more about that organization in that one room,” Trout said. “There will be limited spaces available for all of the organizations. We’re hoping to sit more than 20.

“We’re asking that they bring food along to feed people that come to the event. We’re hoping to have some local entertainment for people to enjoy as well. It’s mainly about learning about all the organizations that are in Kilgore, what they do for the community and how people can help.”

As an added lure, there will be door prizes and giveaways in addition to the impromptu buffet at the open-to-the-public, free-to-all-comers networking event.

“We want people to have a great a time and sign their name up to volunteer for a great organization or event happening in Kilgore.”

For more information, follow Facebook.com/KilgoreMainStreet or log on to KilgoreMainStreet.com. Look for updates in future editions of the News Herald.

Organizations in need of volunteers and wanting to reserve a booth space should contact Trout at Kilgore City Hall at 903-988-4117.

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