Volunteers give back for day of caring

Running paint brushes over walls and dressing room fixtures of Mercy Unlimited, Wapakoneta Electric Department and Public Works Department employees donated their time Saturday to a national Day of Caring effort by the United Way.

The group donated their time last year as well. Last year, they found themselves working at the downtown Wapakoneta thrift store but repairing flood damage then.

“It’s a good day,” Tony Hunt said as he volunteered with painting and light construction work. “We have all kinds of talents and we might as well put them to use.”

The volunteers crammed themselves into Mercy Unlimited’s dressing rooms to complete work there and hammered away, making various improvements throughout the building.

“We’re trying to give back to the community,” Joe Hower said.    “We’re helping out however we can.”

Hower said it is part their volunteer work on behalf of the Public Workers Union.

In all, 21 projects were completed by volunteers throughout Auglaize County on Saturday.

Auglaize County United Way Executive Director Randy Fisher said they mobilized 300 volunteers for projects in every community in Auglaize County.

“They painted, built wheelchair ramps, cleaned gutters, and served as big brothers or big sisters for the day,” Fisher said. “There was something for just about every skill set.”

The work was done for United Way’s 20 partner agencies or their clients, with each agency able to submit a project to be considered.

Some of the volunteers were individuals wanting to give back to the community in which they live, others were groups or organizations, or even representatives of businesses that work with the United Way.

“It’s all volunteer driven,” Fisher said. “It gives us an opportunity to match volunteers wanting to give back to the community with projects that need to be done.”

Fisher said many of the agencies have a lot of projects that need done but don’t have the time, manpower or resources to do them.

The work volunteers do can save thousands of dollars. Last year, volunteers contributed more than $35,000 worth of labor on just the one day through the projects they completed.

“We sincerely appreciate the entire community offering support and coming together for something like this,” Fisher said, “to stand together to make the community a better place to live.”