United Way Community Builders, the region's volunteer center, distributed four awards for community volunteer projects as part of its annual Star Projects Competition.
"Community members were asked to vote for their favorite volunteer projects, which occurred during National Volunteer Week," said Karin Oliveira, director of United Way Community Builders. "Over 380 volunteers provided 750 service hours to 11 projects during the week and helped 12,367 people."
Kylee McCumber, a fifth grader at Southeast School in Leominster, won the grand prize of $1,000 for her Kylee's Kare Kits for Kidz initiative. Teams of volunteers sold "May Baskets" to raise money to alleviate child hunger for students who attend Leominster Elementary Public Schools. The fundraising covered the costs of purchasing non-perishable food items used in "Kare Kits," which are given to children before the weekend when they don't have access to school lunch.
The $500 first place prize went to Kira Andreucci of Fitchburg, a McKay Arts Academy sixth-grader, who also distributes kidpacks-bags of nonperishable food items-to students from Fitchburg Public Schools. Five volunteers prepared seventy food packages.
Hubbardston Council on Aging won second place, $250, for having 31 volunteers rake and clean up winter debris, edge flowerbeds, repair signs and plant flowers around the town offices and the Senior Center.
Leominster Trail Stewards won third place, $250, for utilizing twenty volunteers to help clean debris from the North Monoosnoc Trail in Leominster.