07/30/06 — United Wayne plans Days of Caring

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United Wayne plans Days of Caring

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on July 30, 2006 2:05 AM

In a show of support for their friends and neighbors, Wayne County residents will give their time doing community service projects for this year's Days of Caring.

The event will be Sept. 8-16 and is being sponsored by Volunteer Wayne and United Way of Wayne County.

A kickoff event will be Sept. 8 at 9 a.m. on the courthouse steps.

United Way's community investment director Suzie Acree said the purpose of the event is to get the community out and involved in volunteering.

"We all feel better when we do something like that," she said.

Mrs. Acree said the event has changed some over the years. First, it kicked off the United Way campaign, then, after Sept. 11, 2001, it was recast as a day of remembrance and caring.

"We all felt like we wanted to reconnect and do something meaningful," she said.

After that, the event was called Make a Difference Week.

Now, it has evolved again -- this time into United Way Days of Caring.

By doing their good deeds on the same day, Volunteer Wayne director Barbara Stiles said individuals and groups can do their own projects while participating in a community-wide effort, with significant results.

"When you can look back at the end of the week and see 4,000 pounds of food were collected, people can say they were part of that," Mrs. Stiles said.

She added that the event will also give community members the chance to reconnect on another level with people they work with, their neighbors, their church group or with people they might not have otherwise met.

Anyone can volunteer to do a project, whether it's an individual, a family, a business, a church group, a school or a civic group.

They may contact Volunteer Wayne at 735-5151, Ext. 702, to sign up for a project.

Projects come mainly from United Way agencies, but any local nonprofit organization may register a project with Volunteer Wayne. Mrs. Stiles said the best way to register is online at www.volunteersolutions.org. The deadline for registering a project is Aug. 7.

But projects must be significant, Mrs. Acree said. "We want to get people involved in something meaningful," she said. "It's not just painting a bench or something like that. We want projects that will really make a difference."

And there is another purpose, too, to remind people that there are many good works going on at some of the many agencies and organizations that receive United Way funding.

It will be a chance, Mrs. Acree said, for residents to see firsthand some of the needs in the community and how they can be a part of making a difference for their neighbors.