09/03/07 — There's still time to choose a Days of Caring project

View Archive

There's still time to choose a Days of Caring project

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on September 3, 2007 1:45 PM

The days of borrowing a cup of sugar from your neighbor might seem old-fashioned, but the United of Way of Wayne County hopes lending a hand is still in vogue.

The organization's 2007 Days of Caring will soon kick off Sept. 14 at 8:30 a.m. on the courthouse steps and will continue until Sept. 22.

The kickoff festivities will include entertainment, refreshments and appearances from county and city leaders.

From that day on, the coordinating event agency, Volunteer Wayne, is pushing everyone to do their part, whether it be donating an hour of time or a few days.

"Our vision is to get everybody in the community to do one thing during this time and to lend a hand to someone who needs a little extra help," said Barbara Stiles, director of Volunteer Wayne. "We ask everybody to think big on this."

Volunteer-enthusiasts and one-time aides alike, the people involved with the campaign vary from year to year.

The smiles on faces all around stay the same, and the warm feelings from community service linger all year round.

"It always makes you feel good to know you did something in the community," Mrs. Stiles said.

For the last 14 years, United Way has sponsored the campaign days, and with the continued effort of area projects, this year's campaign is expected to be the best yet with close to 1,300 volunteers. Last year's numbers were close to 1,200. In 2002, the volunteers numbered only in the hundreds.

The campaign started out as a one-day event, but Mrs. Stiles said organizers discovered that businesses and schools would miss the chance to take part.

"We opened it up to eight days, so there are two Saturdays for everyone to get a chance to participate," she said.

Schools are a big part of the volunteering.

"The schools are great," Mrs. Stiles said. "Last year, the schools collected 1,000 pounds of food in just the Wayne County offices, and that's their goal for this year as well."

The value of last year's projects was about $54,000 in eight days, including $30,000 in labor and about $24,000 in donations.

"That's just what we know about," Mrs. Stiles said. "We know it was well beyond that. Folks were calling me for months after and saying that they forgot to tell us that they donated this or that."

Volunteers of all ages are welcome to participate.

Mrs. Stiles understands some people might want to help but don't have the ability to leave their homes.

"Sometimes the best thing to do is throw in a little money," she said.

The project has something for everyone with "a bunch of really unique things," Mrs. Stiles said.

With projects from building houses to buying school supplies, she encourages people to come out to the volunteer center at Wayne Community College or to the kick off to learn the mission of different agencies.

"They might have a passion for a certain area but not know where to go or what to do about it," she said.

All of the projects are listed on www.volunteersolutions.org/uwwc/volunteer, and the list is updated daily. The project deadline has passed, but the agency is still accepting applications. Sept. 8 is the deadline for volunteers. To volunteer, call 735-5151 or log onto the Web site.

"The chances of getting a good match between the volunteer and project dwindles closer to the date, so hurry," Mrs. Stiles said. "We can get a lot done. We just need people to help."