Volunteers offer services for UW's 2011 Day of Caring
By Becky Barclay
Published in News on May 15, 2011 1:50 AM
Debbie High paints a display case black at the Wayne County Museum for her volunteer work as part of the United Way of Wayne County's annual Day of Caring
Janet Miller and Tisha Johnson know what it's like to go for days without being able to bathe or even brush your teeth. So when the two paralegals found out the Red Cross was asking the community to fill supply kits for disaster victims, they knew that's what their law firm had to do for the annual Day of Caring Friday.
Sponsored by United Way of Wayne County, the Day of Caring is a time set aside once a year for the community to come together and help one another.
Projects like the one at Haithcock, Barfield, Hulse and Kinsey law firm went on throughout the day Friday, and even throughout the week.
Ms. Miller said with all the tornadoes and destruction going on lately, making disaster supply kits just seemed like the right thing to do.
The law firm purchased supplies for 25 kits -- about $250 worth of shampoo, combs, washcloths, handy wipes, bars of soap, lotions, razors, shaving cream, sports drink mixes for water and even bubblegum.
"We tried to get some kid-friendly things, too," Ms. Johnson said. "And we got sponge scrunchies because we thought women might want to use them instead of a washcloth."
"And things that you don't realize are gone until you miss them. We take for granted brushing our teeth every day and there are people out there who don't even have a toothbrush."
Both women understand how important those basic needs are.
"Janet and I were both active duty and have been situations where you couldn't bathe or brush your teeth for weeks," Ms. Johnson said. "We know what it's like. It's such a commodity just to be able to brush your teeth."
Once the supplies were purchased, an assembly line was set up in the conference room and the kits went together pretty quickly, Ms. Miller said.
"It was such a good warm feeling to know that we were going to be giving back," Ms Johnson said. "And we had fun. I felt blessed that I don't need one of those bags."
Ms. Miller is proud of her law firm for pitching in to help others.
"I think it's great as a firm because this law firm is such a part of the community," she said. "It's the tried and true, we're here for you."
Ms. Miller said this isn't the first time the firm has participated in the Day of Caring. She recalls one year when staff collected food, blankets and other items for the Humane Society.
Volunteers also help throughout the year at the Soup Kitchen.
"It's very humbling," Ms. Miller said. "We serve and talk to the people. You see people you didn't expect to see. That's very tough."
Also taking part in Day of Caring was Debbie High, who spent the day at the Wayne County Museum painting display panels and display cases.
She moved back to Goldsboro a couple of years ago, but works in Grifton. She said she wanted to get to know more about Goldsboro.
What better way than spending the day at the museum with all its exhibits on life in Wayne County, she said.
"And I figured it would be a good day to get involved with the community through Day of Caring," she added.
Stuart Entsminger joined Ms. High at the museum. He also spent the day painting display panels and display cases black -- and anything else that was asked of him.
"To be honest, I figured it was going to be raining today and I wanted to do something inside," he said. "I like the museum any way. I figured they could probably use somebody here."
Entsminger, who is unemployed, figured he had plenty of time on his hands to help others in his community. He's also been on the receiving end of that help.
"I've frequented the Soup Kitchen," he said. "And I've been at the animal food giveaway. This is my chance to give back a little bit."
This was his first time participating in the Day of Caring. In past years, he was on the road throughout the United States with his job as a truck driver.
Museum director Terry Williams said the help was much appreciated.
"Only two of us work here part-time," she said. "So any time we get extra help, it's just amazing the amount of work we can get done. If they weren't here, it would take time to get this stuff done. Who knows when it would be done?"
And she was impressed with the fact that the volunteers were at the museum when she got there.
"They're obviously very motivated to do this," she said.
For Entsminger, Day of Caring has become more than just a one-day thing. He plans on continuing his volunteer work with the Wayne County Chapter of the American Red and the Boys and Girls Club throughout the year.
Other Day of Caring projects included:
* Wayne Realty and Insurance collected and sorted disaster supplies for the Wayne County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
* AT&T Corporate Call Center collected and sorted disaster supplies for the Red Cross.
* United Way of Wayne County board of directors delivered Meals on Wheels.
* Goldsboro Rotary Club collected and sorted disaster supplies for the Red Cross.
* Curtis Media Group delivered Meals on Wheels.
* Peggy Teague and Wayne Community College helped with the Partnership for Children's lobsterfest.
* Strickland Insurance Group held a blood drive at Chevrolet of Goldsboro for the Red Cross.
* Robin Casey and family of Carver Elementary School in Mount Olive landscaped the Boys and Girls Club.
* First Citizens Bank collected and sorted disaster supplies for the Red Cross.
* Makayla and Dina Newcomb collected and sorted disaster supplies for the Red Cross.
* Coca Cola hosted a cookout for 200 children at the Boys and Girls Club.
* Wayne Opportunity Center collected and sorted disaster supplies for the Red Cross.
* Wayne Community College staff and students collected and sorted disaster supplies for tornado victims.
* Vicki Terrell with Strickland Insurance cleaned mannequins at the Red Cross office.