Days of Caring reports show that hundreds took time for community service projects
By Becky Barclay
Published in News on October 2, 2006 1:50 PM
Some gave a few hours; others gave a few days. But they all received a lifetime reward of satisfaction from helping their neighbors.
Volunteers did everything from building playground equipment and assembling disaster kits to conducting food drives and donating books during this year's United Way Days of Caring.
The event was sponsored by Volunteer Wayne, the city of Goldsboro and Wayne County.
Although wrap-up reports are still coming in, the organizations estimate that hundreds of volunteers and 22 businesses connected to 31 projects. Twenty-six agencies benefited from donated labor and other resources, said Barbara Stiles, Volunteer Wayne director.
Mrs. Stiles said one of the successes was a program that created 560 emergency kits for homebound seniors.
"The goal of 100 emergency kits was beaten by a landslide," she said. "This was due to the partnership with agencies that serve the elderly and prepare for disaster such as Services on Aging, WAGES Nutrition Program, American Red Cross, Wayne County and the city. Businesses wanted to be a part of the project, and the contribution of funds or items by Strickland Insurance, Advantage Home Care, Community Home Health and Hospice and Pittard, Perry and Crone made it possible to exceed the original goal by more than five times."
Mrs. Stiles said the kits were valued at $8,400.
Other businesses concentrated on other projects. Wachovia Bank's focus was on collecting food for the hungry.
The Salvation Army reported that a total of four barrels of food was donated by various groups, totaling $1,000 and providing meals for about 200 people.
Employees of Moffatt Oil Co. and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base painted the new thrift store for the Lighthouse of Wayne County and worked with Long's Plant Farm and the Master Gardeners to spruce up the grounds of the Lighthouse's safehouse.
Thrift store manager, Cassie Wood, said volunteers even constructed dressing rooms at the thrift store. "Some of the volunteers plan to return, and one will even stay on as our handyman," she said.
Others wanted to help local youths by holding school supply drives. Mrs. Stiles said items collected for Communities In Schools were valued at $1,098.
One adolescent psychiatric unit at Cherry Hospital benefited greatly from Days of Caring. Volunteers conducted a basketball clinic for the residents and collected phone cards for them to use.
Cherry Hospital volunteer coordinator Terri Smith said "it's amazing that people want to give of themselves."
Mrs. Stiles said not only did several individuals and groups do projects for Days of Caring, but they plan to revisit the agencies in the future and help out all year long.
"The week provided local businesses, civic groups and individuals a very personal way to learn more about their community and the agencies that serve them," she said. "This rekindled and maintained the spirit of caring for others and an appreciation of community."
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