Community service on the rise after United Way's Rally in the Alley - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Community service on the rise after United Way's Rally in the Alley

People fill this corridor at the alleyway in downtown Montgomery.   Thirty non-profit organizations set up booths allowing visitors to sign up to help with community service projects. People fill this corridor at the alleyway in downtown Montgomery. Thirty non-profit organizations set up booths allowing visitors to sign up to help with community service projects.

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Don't let the music fool you.  It was only part of what brought folks out in the rain and into a menagerie of opportunity to help those in need. 

The River Region United Way's 2009 fundraising campaign kick-off in the alley in Downtown Montgomery encouraged volunteering rather than donating.

"It's very rewarding," says Cassandra Grey.

Grey is just one of the more than 200 people event coordinators say signed up to give back.

"You never know how many people are out here that need help. You don't realize how much it benefits you when you help them," she says.

The United Way's 2009 campaign kick-off brought together a variety of organizations ranging from helping kids in need, to providing for the animals at the zoo.

It gave folks a chance to see how they can help.

But the United Way received a little help of its own--a check for $100,000 from BB&T--who recently took over Colonial Bank.  Colonial was one of United Way's biggest donors before it closed on August 14th, 2009.

"A new corporate citizen coming to town and making that kind of a contribution is just tremendous," says United Way's new Director, Russ Dunman.

BB&T says giving back is their goal.

"It is very important for us to pick up where Colonial left off because we want to be a part of the community," says Donta Wilson with BB&T.

It's a community many say is stepping up to fill a need.

"We've even had people want to stop and volunteer in our education dept.  So we're really doing a very good job," says Sarah McKemmey with the Montgomery Zoo.

"It has been good for us because we can hand out pamphlets, we can hand out cards," says Cynthia McCaghren with the Children's Center of Montgomery.

United way organizers say they're not surprised residents are reaching out to help.

"This is a giving community, and we can do so much if we'll just work together as a river region," adds Dunman.

©2009 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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