WARSAW — United Way of Kosciusko County discovered new ways to give back as part of its annual Days of Caring event.
A call went out for help and more than 300 volunteers from 14 companies stepped up to complete over 50 projects across Kosciusko County.
“United Way works hard to connect people to meaningful volunteer opportunities,” said Nathan Conley, United Way of Kosciusko County board member. “Still, I was overwhelmed to see so many community members giving so unselfishly. Their hard work will provide real benefits to hundreds of people.”
The first wave of projects was dubbed “Dirty Hands Big Hearts.” These volunteers assisted 15 nonprofit organizations with a variety of gritty projects. At Fellowship Missions, it meant tearing out old floors and drywall at the new training center. At Baker Youth Club, it meant painting walls that little hands touch every day. The Beaman Home had a unique challenge. There simply wasn’t enough storage at Mary Ann’s Place, their new thrift store, so volunteers built a storage building.
“The volunteer engineers who built our new storage building were amazing and unbelievable though,” said Dr. Jennifer Hayes, The Beaman Home executive director. “I can’t say enough about how grateful I am for all of their efforts.”
The second wave of volunteers connected with older adults in the community who needed a helping hand. Projects included trimming trees, washing windows and weeding flower beds. Many of the homeowners have kept up their homes for years, but lately it has become more difficult for them, as most don’t have family living nearby. The volunteers demonstrate how much the community cares for its elderly by doing basic chores.
“For many of our team members, this is their favorite event of the year,” said Tina Ramien, Zimmer Biomet senior contract specialist. “The projects are real. There is no question about the good that is being done. The team loves the chance to make the community better.”
This year also saw the first blood drive as part of the Days of Caring event. In partnership with the American Red Cross, the blood drive collected 48 units of blood. The blood is critical this time of year since high schools and colleges serve as major blood collection sites and go quiet in the summer months.
Finally, the community donated more than 15,000 diapers and 42,000 wipes for this year’s BIG Give project. Diapers were identified as a desperate need for many local families who are trying to make ends meet. The donations were distributed to Combined Community Services, Cardinal Services, Heartline Pregnancy Center and the Salvation Army.