ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES! United Way Day of Caring is Tuesday

Employees of Star Insurance spruce flowers around the Whitley County Courthouse and the rest of Downtown Columbia City. The project was part of last year’s annual United Way Day of Caring, which will take place this coming Tuesday.
Staff Writer

There are many ways to give back. Time, money and service are all ways to help make a difference, and for one day in Whitley County that sense of giving will be seen on a large scale as local businesses and people come together to support their community and the non-profits that work hard everyday for others.

For the 13th year in a row, the United Way of Whitley County will be hosting the annual Day of Caring on Tuesday, Sept. 26.
“If you ask people what they know about the United Way of Whitley County, they may say they know that we ask for money, which is true,” remarked Cindy Baker, executive director of the United Way of Whitley County. “But our mission is about improving peoples’ lives and we just happen to do that through rasing funds in our community.

“What I love about Day of Caring is it is United Way’s way to give back on a large scale to the community that does such a wonderful job at supporting the work we do and the work of our community impact partners. It is our time to say thank you to Whitley County and try to give back through acts of service for all the support thousands of people and organizations provide to us each year.”

This year is expected to be the largest event the organization has had with approximately 400 volunteers.
Teams will consist of community members and several local businesses including STAR Financial Bank, Parkview Whitley, SRC, Northeastern REMC, Orizon Real Estate, J&K Communications, 80/20, Passages, Inc, Chase Bank, students from Columbia City High School and more.

Each team will be taking part in over 35 projects throughout the county. This includes outdoor work at multiple locations, projects for senior citizens and one of the largest projects tackled this year will be at The Lighthouse.
“The Lighthouse will be having its entire community room renovated with new carpeting, furniture and other elements to truly make the space feel like a comfortable and welcoming lounging area,” said Baker. “In addition, we are also working with The Lighthouse to update the kitchen and the bathrooms on the men’s side of the facility with the assistance of Flow-Tech Plumbing & Heating and Aumsbaugh Flooring.”

The Day of Caring is the kick-off that marks the start of the United Way’s annual fundraising campaign. Funds will be raised for the next several weeks. Money will then be awarded in the upcoming year through a grant application process to non-profits and other organizations throughout Whitley County.

The day begins with a breakfast for volunteers at 7:30 a.m. at the Whitley County 4-H Fairgrounds.
After the breakfast there will be an opening ceremony that will recognize campaign chairs and also award honors like the Active Service Award, which goes to a local business.
They will also be awarding the Volunteer of the Year Award to an individual in the community who embodies the United Way’s “Live United” theme.
The event may only be one day, but it leaves a lasting result for the organizations that it helps and the volunteers that take part.

“People want to do something that makes them feel connected to their community and Day of Caring provides an avenue for that to happen,” said Baker. “People also want to roll their sleeves up and make a difference in their community. With all of the natural disasters that have occurred in Houston, Florida and Mexico, I know people are searching for meaningful ways to contribute, support those who may need help and make a difference. Day of Caring offers the opportunity to do those things and at the end of the day leaves people with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that no matter how large or small their contribution, it has lightened someone else’s load.”

For more information on how to help the United Way of Whitley County, visit www.unitedwaywhitleycounty.org.

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