Day of Caring planning underway
With projects ranging from weeding and mulching, painting and small building projects, hundreds of volunteers throughout the Panhandle will be hard at work on this year’s 21st annual Day of Caring.
Scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 15, the day begins at 7:30 am with a kickoff breakfast/pep rally for volunteers and organizers in each of the three counties. Berkeley County volunteers will gather at War Memorial Park in Martinsburg, Jefferson County volunteers at Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce office, and Morgan County volunteers at the Board of Education offices in Berkeley Springs.
After that, volunteers take off for projects requested by the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle’s dozens of non-profit partners like the Boys and Girls Club which has units in all three counties, Horses with Hearts, the Shenandoah Women’s Center, and the South Jefferson Elementary.
Day of Caring co-chair Christina Johnson said, “I am proud to be part of a community that is made up of so many wonderful and caring people who, through their acts of kindness and volunteerism, enabling us to complete so many of the agency projects submitted on Day of Caring.” Volunteers will perform a variety of tasks such as, painting fences for Horses with Hearts Inc., installing smoke detectors for the American Red Cross and cleaning windows and blinds for the Shepherdstown Day Care. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of labor is completed in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties on the Day of Caring.
Day of Caring co-chair Joanne Wadsworth added, “After 20 years of being involved with Day of Caring, I am excited to say that this event remains stronger than ever! The enthusiasm continues to grow and we see more and more volunteers getting involved and excited to take part in such a worthwhile endeavor.”
In conjunction with the Day of Caring, United Way’s Emerging Young Leaders (EYL) program is organizing the Mega Food Drive coordinated by Volunteer EYL Chairman Matt Stickel. The drive, designed to collect non-perishable food for area food pantries will be held in the weeks leading up to Day of Caring starting in August. In addition to collections during the month of August, EYL members will be picking up and collecting the food donations on the Day of Caring. Also scheduled are two Walmart Collection Days: Sept. 6 at the Charles Town Walmart and Sept. 13 at the Spring Mills Walmart. Sponsoring businesses will collect food at their locations and Mega Food Drive volunteers will collect those items during the coming weeks. Each of the three school systems in Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan are participating through school based drives. An annual trophy will be awarded for the top producing school as well as business.
Nancy White, 2015-16 chairman of the United Way Board of Directors said, “The Day of Caring and Mega Food Drive present a fantastic opportunity for our volunteers to connect with our agency partners and their clients in a very intimate way. To see first-hand the folks that benefit from the work of these various United Way supported organizations goes a long way in understanding why their efforts are so vital. The ultimate gift a person can contribute is giving of oneself. That is exactly what our volunteers are committed to doing on Sept. 15. I can’t think of a better way to kick off “United Way Week” and the annual Community Campaign than to join forces, efforts, hearts and hands for a common purpose. The community services provided throughout the panhandle during the Day of Caring and Mega Food Drive make us “community strong.”
Many projects are still in need of manpower. Interested community members who want to volunteer or learn more should contact Penny Porter at United Way at firstname.lastname@example.org or (304) 263-0603, ext. 24 for more information.