In spirit of service, volunteers to mark Bette Belle Smith Day

Scores of volunteers will be out in force Saturday to help make their communities a better place as part of the Bette Belle Smith Day of Service.

Volunteers will be doing yardwork in Modesto, Riverbank and Hughson for seniors and the disabled; others will be making care packages for the military at the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross along with the Modesto Blue Star Mothers also will be serving breakfast and lunch to veterans and others in the military.

A health fair is planned for Newman, and Relay for Life walks are scheduled in Patterson, Turlock and Manteca to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

These are just some of the events on tap Saturday.

The day is being organized by Leadership Modesto, the United Way of Stanislaus County and other nonprofit agencies to honor Smith, who died at 88 in November.

She was known as "Mrs. Modesto" for her tireless work as a civic activist, humanitarian and fund-raiser for nonprofits.

The day kicks off with a 5K fun run-walk for H.E.R. (Hope, Education, Reunification), benefiting the women and children of the Inter-Faith Ministries' Redwood Family Center. Volunteers can help with all aspects of this event. People may also raise money by participating in the run-walk: $25 per adult and $12 for children younger than 12.

Volunteers are still needed. They can contribute as little as a couple of hours or the entire day.

To help, contact the Volunteer Center of the United Way at 524-1307 or go online at and search under Bette Belle Smith.