CHARLES TOWN – Officials with the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle say it’s not too late to sign up to tackle projects needed at area nonprofits and in the homes of struggling individuals — a laundry list of tasks that includes everything from walking dogs at the Jefferson County Animal Welfare Society to fixing closet doors for elderly homeowners.
Hundreds already have signed up to be part of the United Way’s 18th-annual Day of Caring community work day on Sept. 11, but United Way leaders say more manpower is needed.
Tiffany Lawrence, who joined the United Way as director of resource development and marketing earlier this month, said the organization is expecting to see even more volunteers come out next month than in past years.
“Last year, when I was involved just as a volunteer, I know we must have had more than 1,200 come and volunteer because we ran out of Day of Caring shirts,” she said. “This year, we’ve ordered more. We’d like to have 1,300 volunteers or more.”
Volunteers have until Tuesday to sign up, Lawrence said. Anyone interested in getting more information should contact Keleigh Taylor at the United Way office (firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-263-0603, Ext. 24).
Volunteers across the Panhandle begin the Day of Caring at 7:30 a.m. with kickoff breakfasts that double as pep rallies. Jefferson County volunteers and organizers will meet at The Inn in Charles Town while those in Berkeley will meet at War Memorial Park in Martinsburg and in Morgan County, at the Board of Education offices in Berkeley Springs.
From there, volunteers will head into neighborhoods to take on projects requested by the dozens of nonprofits that partner with the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle.
According to Lawrence, the agencies requesting help this year include the Boys and Girls Club locations in all three counties, Berkeley Senior Services, the Jefferson County Animal Welfare Society and Good Shepherd Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers.
Some volunteers will be sent to the homes of Good Shepherd clients with fix-it projects such as faulty closet doors, Lawrence said. Anyone who signs up as a Day of Caring volunteer must sign a confidentiality agreement, she said.
By helping out, volunteers in the Panhandle contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of labor in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties on the Day of Caring, United Way officials say.
Said Joanne Wadsworth, the Day of Caring chairwoman: “We are so pleased that after so many years, the Day of Caring remains stronger than ever. The enthusiasm continues to grow and we see more and more volunteers getting involved every year.”
There are other ways of helping out on Sept. 11, too. Members of the Young Professionals of the Eastern Panhandle are sponsoring a Mega Food Drive, designed to restock the shelves at area food pantries.
Sponsoring businesses will collect cans of soup and tuna, boxes of cereal, peanut butter, jelly, boxed macaroni and cheese, and other non-perishable items through Sept. 11. Young Professionals also will collect food at area grocery stores on the Day of Caring.
Lawrence’s former employer, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, again is supplying the commemorative Day of Caring T-shirts for volunteers, she said.