Fighting hunger theme of AmeriCorps activities

A week of activities to celebrate AmeriCorps in Pine Bluff promoting hunger relief and community unity kicks off Saturday with the beginning of a scavenger hunt, and ends March 17 with a neighborhood celebration.

“We’re trying to do things that will bring Pine Bluff together and at the same time, spotlight how how AmeriCorps volunteers are able to help the community,” said Regina VonTungeln, coordinator of AmeriCorps and the Neighborhood Watch program for the Pine Bluff Police Department.

Locations in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County will display AmeriCorps signs and will have donation boxes where participants in the scavenger hunt can drop off non-perishable food items while taking a photo of themselves with the AmeriCorps signs.

Those locations are:

• Pine Bluff Police Department, 200 E. Eighth Ave.

• Surplus Warehouse, 401 S. Michigan St.

• Pizza Posh, 201 S. Main St.

• Pine Bluff Janitorial Supply, 221 W. Second Ave.

• Scat Pools, 3800 S. Camden Road, Suite 12

• Jenkins Side Walk Cafe (inside the Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Center), 211 W. Third Ave.

• Area Agency on Aging of Southeast Arkansas, Inc., 709 E. Eighth Ave.

• ICVR, 2315 S. Olive St.

• Girl Scout Camp Taloha, 3300 Taloha Road

• Delta Rivers Nature Center, 1400 Black Dog Road

• Trinity Village Retirement Community, 6400 Trinity Drive

After collecting photographs of themselves with the AmeriCorps signs, participants in the scavenger hunt are to take the pictures to the neighborhood celebration at St. Luke United Methodist Church (behind Dollarway School) at 32 School St., March 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There they will have a chance to win a spring basket containing cleaning supplies, seeds, and other items and valued at $50.

“We hope that people will visit these businesses and learn about their products, and maybe make them aware of businesses they didn’t know about,” VonTungeln said.

She said everyone who attends the neighborhood celebration March 17 is asked to bring a non-perishable food item, but if they forget, there will be a collection jar set up to accept cash donations and all the money raised will be used to buy additional food items.

“We’re going to have a lot of things for the kids to do. We’re going to feed them, they can sign up for the baseball camp that’s going to be going on during spring break, and we’re going to have various groups and organizations out there to talk about what they do, such as the Girl Scouts and Pine Bluff Animal Control,” VonTungeln said.

She said animal control will bring some of the animals they currently are housing and will be looking for volunteers to “socialize with the animals,” particularly when the agency starts opening one Saturday a month in the next few months.

Also next week, AmeriCorps cadets will help serve lunch at Neighbor to Neighbor and distribute food boxes to needy families.

Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr., proclaimed the week of March 10 to March 18 AmeriCorps week for the city of Pine Bluff.