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About Amy Umble: Amy Umble writes about religion and social issues affecting the Fredericksburg community. You can email her at

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Volunteering is on the rise. A national report released today found that more Americans volunteered in 2008–an increase of nearly one million volunteers.

And just yesterday, some notable volunteers rolled up their sleeves and helped locally. Gov. Tim Kaine and his cabinet were in the area for Cabinet Community Days–when they visit a Virginia area and spotlight programs. Today marked the 15th Community Day and the first in the Fredericksburg area. Kaine helped weatherize a King George County home and packed boxes at the food bank.

The weatherization makes homes more energy efficient and serves low-income residents of Planning District 16. Much of the work is complicated, but Kaine stuck to some simple tasks.

The governor is no stranger to volunteer work and served as a Catholic missionary in Honduras, where he worked at a trade school. On weekends, he helped build houses, schools and churches.

And food bank staff report the governor and his cabinet are efficient volunteers. They packed 135 boxes in 20 minutes. It’s not a record–that belongs to a regular group which packed more than 900 in 50 minutes–but staff assure me it’s still very impressive work.

Look for a story in tomorrow’s paper with details on the visit and the agencies Kaine visited.