Day of Caring puts volunteering front and center

Published 12:10 am Thursday, May 25, 2023

Every year, regional United Way branches, including Rowan County’s, offer Day of Caring projects.

Day of Caring is designed to promote the spirit and value of volunteerism, increase the awareness of local human service agencies and schools, and demonstrate what people working together for the community’s good can accomplish.

Company employees and individuals will have an opportunity to combine volunteerism and skills in order to complete much needed projects and activities for low-income Rowan County home owners and local nonprofit organizations.

This year’s Day of Caring fell on Wednesday, May 24, and there were a number of projects that volunteers from several businesses tackled. Included in the local companies who had volunteers were New York Air Brake, F&M Bank, Power Curbers & Power Pavers, Courtyard by Marriott Salisbury, Catawba College, the city of Salisbury Public Works Department, Novant, SRU, First Presbyterian, Jackson Park Baptist, Vulcan Materials, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Peapod, and Nouryon. The morning’s breakfast was sponsored by Rowan Rotary and the Richard Reinholz and Hurley YMCA donated the space for the meal.

In addition, sponsors included Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation, County of Rowan, Vulcan Materials Company, Cheerwine, Godley’s Garden Center, F&M Bank, Novant Health, Chandler Concrete & Building Supply, PPG, Subway and Little Shaver’s Wood Shop.

“I started participating in 2010, said Paul Robertson of Nouryon, whose employees were working on replacing playground equipment at Partners in Learning on Best Street. “Giving back to the community, helping them get things they wouldn’t have otherwise, it matters.”

Jennifer Misenheimer, Partners in Learning director, said she and her staff had talked with the United Way about their goals, and “without them, these things just wouldn’t happen.” She said it takes time, but she is “grateful that each year they show up to help, and it often involves some of our parents as volunteers.”

Joan Correll, who has been with Nouryon for 10 years and who has participated in Day of Caring each year, this year brought her 12-year-old grandson Gavin to help. Gavin’s younger sister is a student at Partners in Learning.

“I appreciate the chance to help him see that helping others is important, and I love helping out here,” said Correll. The pair were working on painting the seats in a play car after finishing the bright colored painting of a number of tires that would then be made into a pyramid for climbing.

“We had old, metal play equipment that would get hot and was not particularly safe,” said Misenheimer, “so I’m really excited to have newer, safer equipment for the children to use.” In addition to new play pieces, a new sand box was being constructed under the shade of trees in the back of the property.

At Capstone Recovery, some water damage to a ceiling in the back room meant a replacement was necessary, so Jason Berube, Eric Cox and Keith Trexler from the city’s Public Works department got together and put a new ceiling in place Wednesday morning.

Other projects included employees from F&M putting in a new fence at a property on West Cemetery Street and some clean-up work on Westside Circle property. More projects were ongoing throughout Rowan County during the day.

“We brought Day of Caring back last year after time off for the pandemic,” said Rowan County United Way Director Jennifer Lee. “And when we did, we decided we wanted to incorporate low income and elderly homeowners.” Lee said the idea of rebuilding together and allowing people to age in their own homes was appealing not only to her staff but to the businesses who have staff that participate every year.

“We have some companies that specifically are asking for homeowner projects now,” she said. In the past, the event has had three to four hundred volunteers; this year there were 150, but Lee said “we’re rebuilding, and we’ll get there. It’s a real team building opportunity for the companies and a chance as well for them to get outside the four walls of the business and reconnect.”

Lee offered a word of thanks for the Day of Caring Committee as well, including Bill Godley, Craig Powers, Paul Robertson, Chris Tester and Chanaka Yatawara.