United Way of Wayne County asks the public to pitch in and help the local needy and charitable groups during the 2019 Days of Action.

United Way of the World started Days of Action internationally in 2008. At that time, Wayne County had a Day of Caring, but changed its event in 2015 to Days of Action.

“Wayne County, along with United Way of the World, established that it would be an international day that we could recognize volunteering as an essential part of what we do,” said Patty Graham, United Way of Wayne County community engagement director. “It’s not just that we talk about it, but we put it into action.”

She said Days of Action is designed to make people’s lives better.

“After a lot of input from our community partners, we found there is a need here for families and individuals who are in need of hygiene items, and that includes the homeless,” Graham said. “When we found out that nearly half of those who are homeless here in Wayne County are families, that’s where we felt that that was our need this year.”

United Way is asking individuals, families, churches, schools, businesses and civic organizations to collect shoe boxes, gallon-size plastic bags, large-mouth reusable water bottles and small plastic storage containers in which hygiene items will be placed and given to the needy. Containers can be dropped off at the Salvation Army June 21, and an assembly line of volunteers will fill them with hygiene items from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

People are also being asked to donate hygiene items. Only new items are being taken.

“We’re going to make care packages designed for adults, both male and female, teenagers, both male and female, and children,” Graham said. “The boxes and plastic bags will be given to agencies that provide assistance to families who are in that cycle of poverty and can’t break it.”

Agencies receiving the care packages include the Salvation Army, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Community Soup Kitchen of Goldsboro and the domestic violence shelter.

“Our partner agencies are telling us that hygiene items are needed most right now,” Graham said. “We just finished a fabulous food drive, so right now we need hygiene items. Everybody needs hygiene items to be healthy and safe. And it can promote good self-esteem, too.”

Members of the Boys and Girls Club of Wayne County will make messages to put in the care packages.

“We’re hoping that the community gets behind us, just for a day,” Graham said.

In addition to the community project of providing care packages, some of United Way’s partner agencies are asking for volunteers to help with some projects on June 21.

The projects include:

• Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro-Wayne needs volunteers to help clean out and organize its warehouse on George Street.

• Meals on Wheels needs volunteers to help deliver meals during lunch and also needs 350 flashlights for participants to use in case of a power outage.

• The Salvation Army needs help in the food pantry, the community garden, replacing ceiling tiles, and cleaning and organizing its family thrift store.

• The Boys and Girls Club has had several large dry erase boards donated and needs help hanging them.

• Literacy Connections is creating a video series of reading books to children and needs volunteers to read a book to be recorded.

• United Way and the News-Argus are partnering to collect fans for the elderly. New 20-inch box fans still in the original container may be taken to the News-Argus or the Salvation Army.

Items that can be donated for the care packages include shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, washcloths, brush, comb, anti-bacterial wipes, lip balm and flashlights. Items needed for children include toothbrushes, toothpaste, fluoride rinse, fun bath stuff, fun kids three-in-one body wash/shampoo and hair accessories for girls.

Items needed for male adults and teens are shaving cream, razor, deodorant, face wash, body wash and body spray. Items needed for female adults and teens are shaving cream or gel, razor, deodorant, face wash, body wash, body spray, and feminine care products, including tampons, pads and liners.

For more information about Days of Action, go to www.unitedwayne.org, www.volunteerwayne.org or call United Way at 919-735-3591.