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An outpouring of volunteers allowed the United Way to hold its largest ever Day of Caring on Friday, May 17, adding two additional projects in Plainville to ensure everyone had a chance to fix up a corner of town.
“This is a beautiful day where we come together to serve the organizations that are improving our communities,” said Donna Osuch, president of the United Way of West Central Connecticut. More than 600 volunteers, including 150 high school students, worked on 38 projects in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville and Plymouth.
The hundreds of extra hands spread out to local non-profits to collect litter and do landscaping, painting and other light projects such as constructing a fence.
At the Plainville furniture bank For Goodness Sake, a new beneficiary of the Day of Caring, volunteers helped families pick out furniture and move it to their homes, while the Domus Amoris group home on South Washington Street benefited from some landscaping and roof repairs.
Osuch said the nonprofits the United Way of West Central Connecticut works with often don’t have enough funding or manpower to make these improvements on their own, so the boost of help on the Day of Caring can get projects done that might not have been a priority otherwise.
Also, Day of Caring is a way for volunteers to get more connected to their communities, especially for high school students who get to spend a day working with students from schools in surrounding towns and learn about the nonprofits they’re helping.
Osuch credits that community-building with the growing number of volunteers they have been getting year after year on the Day of Caring.
This year, 21 companies and four service groups sent volunteers, along with a few individuals who came along on their own.
“This is a beautiful day where we come together to serve the organizations that are improving our communities,” Osuch said. “I was told by one group Friday, that was new, that it inspired a larger sense of pride for their organization. And you can't put a money value on that.”
Around a dozen volunteers from The Pines Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Bristol came to the Wheeler Clinic on Northwest Drive to apply mulch, which Vice President John Sponauer said has a larger impact than just sprucing up the building.
“When (children) come in off the bus and they see flowers … it’s not just mulching, it's not just landscaping, it’s giving everyone a dignified place to go for care,” he said. “It’s touching for the people we serve, it’s touching for the staff, to see the community really understands the value of what we do.”