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United Way Announces “Day of Caring” in Worcester

Friday, August 24, 2012

 

The United Way of Central Massachusetts and more than 1,300 volunteers are preparing to hit the streets of Worcester for the organization's annual Day of Caring.

The largest one-day volunteer drive in the region will take place on September 12 this year and will feature volunteers from local corporations, unions, colleges and the community beyond working on service projects around the city.

"There's hundreds of projects that range everywhere from painting to playground maintenance to cleaning up parks," said Heidi Paluk, vice president of external affairs for United Way of Central Massachusetts.

"You name it, it gets done."

Paluk said the day is well-known among employers in the region and that many businesses allow their employees to volunteer for at least part of the work day.

Those volunteers help nearly 100 local non-profit organizations turn their projects into reality.

"It's a great resource for the agencies because they're able to really have a free workforce for the day," Paluk said.

While the projects for this year's Day of Caring are still being finalized, Paluk said volunteers can expect to take part in some interesting and engaging work.

Last year, one group of volunteers spent the day hanging out with crash test dummies at the Red Cross, helping to clean them up and make sure the CPR dummies were ready to go for new trainees.

Another group of volunteers had a meditative experience building a healing and prayer pond at an agency that serves children who has experienced recent crises.

Paluk recalled yet another project that involved building a community garden on Green Street.

"When I got there they had just so much work to be done, and they had made a huge dent, but they weren't going to finish by the 4:00p.m. deadline," she said.

When quitting time rolled around, all the volunteers headed home. But after picking up their family members, they were back on Green Street and worked until 8:00p.m. to get the project done.

"It truly is one of the best feel-good days you can find in the city," said Paluk.

 

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