JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY - About 100 hopeful volunteers gathered at the Northwoods United Methodist Church in Jacksonville Monday to search for ways to serve their community.
The United Way of Onslow County hosted its second annual iServe Volunteer fair. More than 20 nonprofit agencies set up booths to show attendees what kind of ways they can volunteer.
One of those hopeful volunteers was Janetta Batten, who knows first-hand the meaning of giving back.
"There were times when I didn't have food or whatever," Batten said. "People gave to me. It felt good that somebody cared enough to help me out. It felt really good."
Batten found Mama J's Helping Hand, a nonprofit out of Sneads Ferry that provides food, clothing, household needs and baby items to families in need.
Batten had clothes that she no longer had use for, and knew exactly what to do with them.
"As a matter of fact, I'm going to pick up three bags of clothes right now and bring them back to [Mama J's]," Batten said.
Jeanette Lopez, director of Mama J's Helping Hand, was thankful for Batten's donation, and to have a new volunteer.
"You just come to expect to get volunteers and really to get other resources in the community too, which is an amazing part of this event, but to have somebody say, 'Oh, I have so much stuff for you,' and get it and bring it back...we appreciate you," Lopez said.
Lopez says her mission -- along with other nonprofits' -- wouldn't be possible if it weren't for those like Batten.
"Like MLK day, I had a dream, too, and it's come true," Lopez said. "It's serving people in need."
If you missed the volunteer fair and would like more information on how to get involved or sign up for the iServe program, visit https://www.facebook.com/UnitedWayOnslow or www.uwonslow.org.
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