Big Serve 2022

This weekend New Braunfels is serving up a healthy dose of community service through the Big Serve — a day reserved for volunteering and raising social awareness.

As one of the biggest volunteer days in New Braunfels, Big Serve is creating opportunities to give back to the community and uniting people working to improve the lives of those in need.

“We’re changing our community, and we’re helping our neighbors,” said Kim Francis, Big Serve city team lead. “We love that this is kind of a launching pad for people — it’s a safe and easy way for people to go out and volunteer.”

Big Serve began in 2014 and led by local congregations committing time to volunteer for local nonprofits.

Last year the cause opened its doors to the entire community — the additional workforce helped complete more projects.

Even with the event’s success, Francis continues looking for ways to get more people involved.

“How do we work together better?” Francis said. “How do we unite and say we’re better together — that there’s more that we can do together that we could just never do on our own?”

Through the experience of volunteering, Francis hopes those participating walk away with knowledge of local nonprofits and the people they serve.

“We want to educate people about what’s going on in our community,” Francis said. “What are the resources and what are the needs in our community? … We’re trying to unite the community, and we’re trying to help them take action to help solve some of the social issues of our community.”

Big Serve 2022 started with 600 volunteer spots for over 36 project sites benefiting over 30 organizations, and there are 200 spots left to fill.

There are outdoor volunteer opportunities for landscaping and beautification projects at Heritage Village, Headwaters at the Comal and schools like Kinder Ranch Elementary.

Volunteers can also assist with Habitat for Humanity builds and help the Crisis Center of Comal County (CCCC) with cleaning along with volunteers to help at its thrift store.

Throughout the year Comal Thrift Shoppe collects donations to sell for a profit — funds going directly back into the crisis center — but finding volunteers can be difficult.

“We have one staff member, so (with one volunteer) that’s 50% more than what we had,” CCCC CEO Julie Strentzsch said. “We can’t run the thrift store at a profit if we pay people, and so the power of one person is that one hour, two hours, four hours — all of that work goes toward multiple hours of work for our clients.”

Comal Thrift Shoppe isn’t the only community thrift store in need of volunteers.

The Communities in Schools thrift store is looking for volunteers to sort through donations and fill racks on the sales floor.

“Even one volunteer coming in for an hour — one hour is all it takes to fill up one rack of clothes,” said Alli Maldonado, the thrift store’s manager.

With more ways to volunteer than before, Big Serve added more ways to make a difference.

Those who might not have the time to volunteer, can drop off donations at the McKenna Center or stop by to write an encouragement card for local first responders and Meals on Wheels seniors.

To find out more about Big Serve, how to donate or sign up to volunteer visit

The Big Serve starts Saturday, Oct. 8 and concludes Sunday, Oct. 9.

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