It can be said that the heart of any community lies in its volunteers.
If that's the case, then Kennett Square has a really big heart.
Kennett Square hasn't become a prime destination spot by accident. Whether it's the non-profit Mushroom Festival, Kennett Run, Brewfest, or the scores of other activities that take place in and around Kennett, volunteers are the driving force. And these volunteers really care about their community.
Mary Hutchins, executive director of Historic Kennett Square, said she believes the reason Kennett Square has been getting so many accolades recently is because people care about their town. They care enough to volunteer their time to help others.
Because there is so much economic disparity in southern Chester County (5 percent of southern Chester County households are living below the poverty level, according to the Housing Authority of Chester County), the efforts of volunteers is especially appreciated.
Volunteers at the Kennett Area Food Cupboard helped more than 1,200 individuals and distributed nearly $160,000 in assistance to families. This effort is vital because demand for Food Cupboard services has risen more than 14 percent in the past year alone.
Volunteers at the Garage Youth Center in Kennett Square help mentor students with homework or those who are struggling in school. Patti Olenik, Garage director, said volunteers are critical to the success of the youth center's mission.
Volunteers are a big part of the Tick Tock Early Learning Center in Avondale. Tick Tock is a non-profit organization that provides quality subsidized education for the neediest of families in the area. We are heartened to learn that even children who were ordered by courts to perform community service at Tick Tock will return to volunteering after they experienced it.
And we can't say enough about the local civic organizations like the Kennett Square Rotary Club, the Kennett Square Lions or the Longwood Rotary club. Week after week, these members volunteer and are making a difference, whether it's cleaning the Anson B. Nixon Park or helping with events like the Mushroom Festival or Kennett Run.
If you care about your community, invest in it and consider volunteering.