Commentary: Volunteer opportunities abound after TV show leaves

This editorial appeared in The Fresno Bee.

They moved the bus Thursday afternoon to reveal Mary Ann Riojas' new home, a product of thousands of volunteers and the television show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." The frenzied pace of the makeover and being on national television generated excitement through the Valley.

It's been an uplifting event and the remarkable Riojas was a deserving recipient. She was born with no legs, one complete arm and a right arm that ends at the elbow with stunted fingers. She now works for the Housing Authority and counsels other struggling families.

An estimated 4,000 volunteers showed up to help this past week, along with hundreds of Valley businesses led by DeYoung Properties, the builder of Riojas' new home.

Many of the volunteers undoubtedly have been motivated by having a brush with celebrity through the Emmy-winning ABC show. But most were there to help, just as they are for large and small causes throughout the year in Fresno.

At much the same time the Extreme Makeover project has been capturing the headlines, 1,500 people have been participating in the Mountain of Food Drive that will culminate Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a food collection and march.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fresno Bee.

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