The National Day of Service, on Jan. 18-19, was timed to coincide around the same time as Martin Luther King Day and President Obama's second inauguration.
Rebekah Majors-Manley, a registered nurse from Bell Buckle, coordinated the volunteers in Bedford and Rutherford Counties. Project locations included the Habitat for Humanity in Murfreesboro, Journey of Hope Ministries in Shelbyville and the Bedford County Child Development Center in Shelbyville, she said. Volunteers also provided information about the Affordable Health Care for America Act.
The Child Development Center provides services to children with developmental disabilities. Eight volunteers sewed bibs, cut out construction paper decor for bulletin boards, and created learning materials and activity projects for classrooms, said Teresa Winnette, early childhood director.
The Volunteers at the Journey of Hope helped distribute food and clothes to families who are in need, said organizer Kay Mitchell.
Donna Seely, a family nurse practitioner from Bedford County, decided to help people learn more about the health care act. The program will start enrolling people without insurance on Oct. 1, and insurance coverage becomes effective Jan. 1, 2014, Seely said. A national survey of qualified applicants showed that 70 percent of respondents did not know they would qualify for the coverage, she said.
"I see the devastating health effects every week when I see patients who delay care and can't afford their medications," Seely said. "Having access to insurance and thus regular care will allow people to live healthier and more productive lives."
Seely, Majors-Manley and other volunteers will be hosting informational meetings in the weeks to come.