Day of Caring turns up the heat!

Despite the punishing humidity, over 730 volunteers from 52 groups and companies fanned out to 54 local agencies in 20 towns for United Way’s annual Day of Caring on September 11. Even though the heat and dew-point made the air so thick that it felt like you were walking through a beef and barley stew, our volunteers knuckled down and got a ton accomplished.

From the Rochester Child Care Center to New Generation homeless shelter to Kingston Children’s Center and all points in between, serious work was getting done. And not delicate work either. This was the hard stuff: mulching, painting, staining, roto-tilling, power-washing, shed-building, wall-demo, and all other manner of manual labor; your humble correspondent would often leave job sites amazed at the sheer volume of work that was getting done and grateful that my wife wasn’t around to point out the character-building benefits of weeding.

This year United Way added a cool new project to the slate of offerings, with a group of 38 volunteer readers dispatched to eight child care centers to deliver some introductory pointers on financial responsibility to over 220 young children. Following a brief training in the morning by volunteer guru Robin Albert and our dynamite VISTA Lou Stamas, the readers took off in pairs and read “Benny’s Pennies,” a children’s story extolling the virtues of mercantile capitalism. They followed up with a series of questions to drive home the concepts of money and its uses to the kiddos. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive!

Meanwhile,that same morning at Kingston Children’s Center, Cyndi LaPlante, was twisting herself up like a Snyder’s pretzel trying to paint a hidden nook in the infant room. It was her fifth year volunteering for Day of Caring. She does quality assurance for Lonza, a United Way priority partner.

“We support United Way through the campaign and payroll deduction,” she said.  ”But it’s great to get out and actually see the people we help.”

See photos from the day at our Facebook page!