Cheyenne's Day of Giving marks return Friday as event to help those in need of food, other essentials - Cheyenne, WY Cap City News
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Cheyenne’s Day of Giving marks return Friday as event to help those in need of food, other essentials

Volunteers help push a cart full of donated items during the 2022 Cheyenne Day of Giving event Friday at the Kiwanis Community House in Cheyenne. (Briar Napier/Cap City News)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — No two Cheyenne Day of Giving events are alike.

Each year, there seems to be a greater emphasis (and demand) on what items those who are in need in the community are seeking. And with Day of Giving founder and board member Greta Morrow being a part of every event since the annual occurrence started 17 years ago, she knows perhaps better than anyone what people in Cheyenne call for more of.

During the second Friday of each May, their calls are answered in a massive way.

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Morrow and a large group of volunteers pooled together as part of the 2022 Cheyenne Day of Giving on Friday at the Kiwanis Community House in Lions Park, taking in donations from vehicles and other arrivals that dropped off various items — such as food and hygiene products — for later disposal to multiple groups that assist those needing help in the city.

The Kiwanis Community House was the main hub of this year’s event, but dropoff points were also located throughout the city at businesses in partnership with Day of Giving, ensuring that a place to donate was always close by for anyone in town that wanted to do so.

For Morrow, it’s just another part of the growing amount of philanthropy and kindness across the community — something that she believes helps make Cheyenne a better place year after year.

Volunteers sort through donated items during the 2022 Cheyenne Day of Giving event Friday at the Kiwanis Community House in Cheyenne. (Briar Napier/Cap City News)

“We’ve had a steady flow of cars driving by to drop off donations throughout the day,” Morrow said, “and that’s been really encouraging, because we know there’s a lot of need here in Cheyenne. There’s increased need for food and that kind of stuff. So this is an important day to get those donations to the agencies we help.”

Morrow noted that food has been particularly in demand at local food pantries throughout the course of the year as increased costs due to rising inflation have stretched some people thin.

Calling it the “number-one need,” Morrow said that Needs Inc. — Cheyenne’s local food pantry — has usually taken in 31 requests for help per day on average in prior years. For 2022 thus far, that number has rocketed up to an average of 90 per day.

In a city the size of Cheyenne, many of those people, Morrow said, are close by. That’s why she especially appreciated the volunteer turnout throughout the event, as she always does, because it’s likely someone in need in the community is close by to where volunteers live.

“The stark reality is there are a lot of people, a lot of our neighbors need[ing] a lot of help,” Morrow noted. “And that’s what we’re doing, that’s all. We’re all volunteers; nobody [is] out here except volunteers. And the focus is doing all we can to help others.”

Donated loaves of bread sit awaiting distribution during the 2022 Cheyenne Day of Giving event Friday at the Kiwanis Community House in Cheyenne. (Briar Napier/Cap City News)

One of those helpers, Day of Giving President Kristal Wood, has been volunteering in some capacity at the event for a decade. She noted that she thought at first glance that Friday’s turnout at the Kiwanis Community House had been a little down from previous years, but Morrow additionally added that she believed it had been somewhat counterbalanced by this year’s amount and size of donations.

The amount of time given by volunteers and those who contribute to Day of Giving is what moves Wood the most because it’s all being done on their own accord — and because there is little in it for those people except the push to do something beneficial for others.

“Cheyenne is an amazing community as far as coming together to help those in need,” Wood said. “It amazes me every year. … I think that the economy this year, that might have something to do with us being a little bit down. But we might still get a surge this afternoon, so we might still be fine.”

Morrow started Day of Giving nearly two decades ago after she herself was a story of a person in need, battling back over the course of six years to survive a Stage IV leukemia diagnosis. Since then, Morrow vowed that she would give back, and Day of Giving has in turn evolved from an idea into a colossal humanitarian event that aids the needy in the area.

Though Day of Giving is undoubtedly the largest event the namesake group puts on each year, need never stops and the work is never quite all done. Nevertheless, Day of Giving helps to act as a spark for change, just as Morrow was the spark in getting it started in the first place.

“I’m humbled by it,” Morrow said. “I’m thinking, ‘Wow, we’ve got these volunteers and look at all these people coming out to make donations and everything.’ … We saw this need, we thought we’d try this and have it be a community event and a happy ripple that brings the community together, and [the community] said, ‘Yes, we’ll help,’ … and I just sit here and think it’s pretty cool.”

A sign on a trailer for Cheyenne Day of Giving during the event Friday at the Kiwanis Community House in Cheyenne. (Briar Napier/Cap City News)