Day of Caring: United Way event adds homes in need as volunteers give back to community

Published 12:05 am Friday, June 10, 2022

SALISBURY —  It’s been four years since Rowan County United Way hosted Day of Caring and all who participated Thursday during the return couldn’t be more excited to take part.

The organization shifted the program from schools and nonprofit organizations to include homes in need of repairs. Preparations began in February with businesses, organizations and volunteers all gathering Thursday to complete projects.

“We are so thankful for our sponsors and companies,” said Melissa Robbins, director of finance and operations for United Way. “Our volunteers are as excited as we are to be back.”

The day included 13 sites and two businesses that participated for the first time. Companies can choose to sponsor the event through monetary donations or supplies for construction, but  volunteers can also take part as a team-building experience.

The day kicked off with a breakfast at J.F. Hurley YMCA   before the volunteers headed out. Among these participants, Barnhardt Construction teamed up with Catawba College Student Affairs to build a ramp compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for an elderly homeowner.

A steep ramp was once connected the front porch of the home; now, a longer ramp with lower incline has been constructed for safe access in and out.

“It’s nice to reach out and connect with the community outside of an office space,” said Jared Tice, dean of students and senior vice president for the college experience at Catawba College. “And always, to give back.”

By 11:30 a.m., the team had the basic foundation of the ramp complete.

On East Cemetery Street, Richard’s Painting crew members joined F&M Bank employees to redo the outside of a home recommended by the Salisbury Community Development Corporation. Paint was chipped to the bare wood on the outside, so with supervision by Richard Gold, volunteers scraped the remaining paint off and refinished all four sides of the home using “chalkware,” a pale, yellow shade similar to the original color.

“Staying community-focused and making a direct impact on the community is the best way to come back for Day of Caring,” said F&M bank CEO Steve Fisher. “United Way was very intentional with their plan and the result of their money and effort will show today.”

Gold, founder and owner of Richard’s Painting, was thrilled to be apart of the day of community service.

“If you can do it, why not?” he said. “I’m more than happy to be out here. United Way provided the supplies so we’re here to do our part.”

Just down the road, the Partners in Learning Novant location was accepted into the Day of Caring with the construction of an outdoor treat for kids.

The child development center got additions to the playground provided by Salisbury’s Nouryon Chemicals.

Jennifer Misenheimer, director of Novant’s Partners in Learning, expressed her excitement with what’s to come at the location.

“We have so many plans we’re ready to move forward with,” she said. “Our children are so curious when they see the playground being worked on. We’re so appreciative of United Way giving that to them.”

Misenheimer displayed four signs that were handmade by the children at the location for the volunteers showing how grateful they were for the hard work going into their playground. Additions Thursday included outside benches, a ramp for children to climb while playing and a wood car display with seating to pretend they’re behind a wheel.

“I’m glad we’re back,” said Paul Robertson, who was at the site. “We needed to get back and continue giving to our community.”

Volunteers got to enjoy a Subway lunch, water and a T-shirt during the day.