09/03/09 — Days of Caring attracts very few workers

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Days of Caring attracts very few workers

By Laura Collins
Published in News on September 3, 2009 1:46 PM

The United Way of Wayne County's annual Days of Caring event brought about lackluster results.

Only five of the 22 possible service projects were attended during the weeklong event.

"This year, the turnout was not as great as we had hoped. There were only five agencies that technically benefited. There were 12 agencies that listed projects and a total of 22 projects. Of all of those projects, only five were adopted," said Sheri Pietrangelo, United Way administrative coordinator.

A preliminary total of 243 volunteers worked for a combined 55 hours on the projects, Ms. Pietrangelo said.

The estimated volunteer impact in Wayne County, or figure for what volunteer time is worth per hour, is $15.51. The five projects that were adopted include Habitat for Humanity construction, which had four volunteers including two people for a combined 11 hours and two people who served them a meal. Dress for Success clothing drive had seven volunteers for a combined 16 hours. Meals on Wheels had one volunteer for two hours. Communities in Schools calculated approximately 225 people participated in its school supply drive. Ms. Pietrangelo said this number could increase by the time final totals are reported.

The less than 250 volunteers is a sharp contrast to last year, when the Days of Caring had 950 volunteers with 29 community agencies participating.

"It was definitely a low response from this year. It's possible the economy is affecting volunteerism, too," Ms. Pietrangelo said. "It's just a sign of the times, and some people are still stepping out and doing things, and some people just don't have the time to volunteer or the means to donate."

She added that other factors might have also led to the lower response to this year's event including the date change. This year the event was a month earlier. She said it's likely some people did not know when it was or were out of town on vacation.