Volunteers from nine different companies fanned out among Wallingford and Meriden nonprofits Wednesday, bringing paintbrushes, other tools and flowers to beautify buildings and grounds.
The annual Day of Caring, organized by the United Way of Meriden and Wallingford, is a favorite among many volunteers because it gives them a chance to help nonprofits and serve their communities.
“We’re happy to do it,” said Sarah Lazo, an employee with Fosdick Fulfillment in Wallingford.“Not just today, but everyday.”
Lazo, who serves on the Employee Appreciation Committee at Fosdick, was with six other company volunteers at Kuhn Employment Opportunities in Meriden to plant mums and do other landscaping. The work is just in time for Kuhn’s 60th anniversary dedication on Sept. 28.
“We have 28 vans, and usually we have the volunteers clean the vans,” said Kuhn’s Executive Director Beth Fisher. “This year, we’re doing some landscaping. I wish I had a before and after picture. It was completely overgrown.”
Kuhn, like other area non-profits, often doesn’t have the money or staff to handle landscaping and painting projects. The agency, which provides job training and employment help for adults with disabilities, recently got its roof repaired.
“It’s now a nice place to come to work,” Fisher said.
At Girls Inc., on Lincoln Street, volunteer employees from USI insurance Services in Meriden were prepping and painting bathrooms and exterior walls while throwing away odds and ends.
“They could use all the help they can get,” said Peter Gallasso, USI’s vice president of commercial markets. “There is a lot to do.”
Employees from 3M, Ulbrich Stainless Steel & Specialty Metals, Mirion Technologies, Wallingford Rotary, Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, Pyramid Time Systems and the Record-Journal also participated in the Day of Caring.
Agencies that received help included Catholic Family Charities, Spanish Community of Wallingford/STEM, Kuhn, Girls Inc. Connecticut Food Share, Meriden YMCA and the Wallingford Public Library. An event planned for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater New Haven in Wallingford was cancelled.
“Many companies in the community are always looking for volunteer opportunities for their team and connecting them with our partners for our annual Day of Caring is always a success,” Julia Pelletier, United Way’s director of marketing and community outreach, said in an email. “The work from the volunteers gives greater and fresher energy to our partner agencies’ work environment so they can continue the important work they do for their clients.”
With approximately 100 volunteers participating in the Day of Caring, the work they did is valued at $20,965.00, an amount difficult for agencies to spare, Pelletier said.
“For over 20-plus years our United Way has continued this event and we admire the strong connections between our valuable corporations in Meriden and Wallingford and our community partners,” Pelletier added.
Sadrac Ramos, finance and operations manager for Girls Inc., said a paint donation from Sherwin Williams helped move the project forward. And adults are on hand to model the spirit of giving to the agency’s young clients.
“Every little bit helps because we’re not having to hire another vendor,” Ramos said. “It’s like when we tell the girls to give.”