Volunteers met with clear, cool weather on Wednesday as they worked throughout the county for the United Way’s annual Day of Caring.
Michelle Parrish, executive director of United Way of Richmond County, said the organization saw record numbers this year with around 145 volunteers who were out working and approximately 50 on board to work this Saturday.
The day kicked off at 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast at Richmond Community College’s Cole Auditorium in Hamlet before volunteers split up and headed to eight different locations throughout the county.
Among those sites was the Cordova School, located on Church Street in Cordova.
Approximately 25 volunteers helped beautify the school by painting and updating playground equipment donated by the Roberdell Children’s Center, planting mums and weeding shrubbery and cooking apple dumplings. Two volunteers from Pee Dee Electric also held a special story time for children using finger puppets.
“I’m just glad the community can come together like this and that we could be partners with United Way,” said Principal Bonnilee Rhodes. “It’s really a blessing for us.”
In Rockingham, several volunteers gathered to help construct a house on Clark Street as a part of Habitat for Humanity.
Russell Walters, construction manager for Habitat, said the house was first started in July. On Wednesday morning, volunteers hauled in ladders, hammers and sawhorses to continue its construction.
“We’re doing a lot of air sealing and getting the vinyl up,” Walters said as he stood among a crowd of more than 20 volunteers. “They’re working really quickly.”
Sandhills Children Center in Rockingham also witnessed several projects throughout the day.
Melanie Carnes, director of center services, said volunteers built a sandbox as well as some raised flower boxes that will contain an herb garden for the children.
“The United Way Day of Caring is by far the best day of our year,” said Carnes. “Without the support of the United Way and the volunteers who take a day out of their lives to give to us, a majority of the projects needed around the center would not get completed. Our center relies on the support of the United Way, the community and especially volunteers, and we are extremely grateful for their time and efforts today and every day.”
Volunteers also dedicated their time and effort to Backpack Pals, New Horizon’s Life and Family Service, East Rockingham Senior Center, Hamlet Senior Center and Ellerbe Senior Center.
Parrish said United Way of Richmond County set a goal of $250,000 for its 2012-2013 campaign.
“Every dollar that is invested is continuing to make a difference,” she said. “You may never know whose life you’ve touched by contributing to the United Way campaign, but know that your dollars have helped make a difference in someone’s life. During the past year, all United Way partnering agencies continued programs to assist with community needs. Last year, United Way investments helped 9,950 individuals and more than 76,000 were served — it was another year of increased service from our agencies. This year, our agencies have already assisted 4,791 individuals and served 32,075 in the first two quarters. However, our community needs are continuing to grow during these hard economic times.”
United Way Partnering Agencies are Sandhills Children Center, Cordova School, Richmond County 4-H, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Leak Street Alumni, Backpack Pals, Richmond County Aging Services, Samaritan Colony, Richmond County Literacy Council, Richmond Christian Counseling, Habitat for Humanity of the NC Sandhills, New Horizon’s Life and Family Services, Salvation Army, Rockingham Rescue Squad and the newest agency, Our Daily Bread.
For more information or to learn how you can invest in the community, contact Michelle Parrish at the United Way office at 910-997-2173, 910-206-2909 or email@example.com.
— Staff Writer Mallory Brown can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.