Day of Caring
Published 11:57 pm Friday, September 9, 2011
Volunteers made their way into Suffolk Friday to roll up their sleeves, get to work and help out community organizations as part of United Way’s 20th annual Day of Caring.
Since 1991, United Way of South Hampton Roads has hosted the Day of Caring throughout the region as a way to encourage volunteerism and demonstrate how working together can have a great impact on the community.
In Suffolk, workers helped complete projects and provide services at Florence Bowser Elementary School, the Western Tidewater Free Clinic and the Suffolk Family YMCA.
Email newsletter signup
“The help is invaluable,” said Lorraine Worrell, the property director at the YMCA. “They help us get so much accomplished in one day that would normally take us two weeks.”
The YMCA had 10 volunteers from Bank of America help winterize the outdoor pools by stacking chairs and tables, cleaning trashcans and placing covers over the water. They also mopped the floors of the teen center and completed office work, such as laminating posters and making signs.
“I try to find things that are going to impact members the most or help our facility overall,” Worrell said.
Amy Arrington, one of the Bank of America volunteers, has participated in the Day of Caring multiple times before, and she said she continues to take part because it’s a good cause.
“It’s a very good thing that (United Way) does,” she said. “I think it’s great companies like Bank of America let us do this.”
Charlie Henderson, the market president for Bank of America in Hampton Roads, said the bank has provided volunteers for the Day of Caring since the event’s inception.
“It’s a mainstay of Bank of America’s support for United Way through volunteering,” he said. “It’s another way to give back.”
Western Tidewater Free Clinic also had volunteers participating in the Day of Caring on Friday.
Dr. Ernest Knight, of Franklin, and Dr. William Heriford, of Suffolk, provided free dental exams and procedures at the free clinic.
Clinic executive director Miriam Beiler said Knight has administered free dental work at the clinic before and used Day of Caring as an opportunity to help out again.
“He’s one of our regular volunteers,” she said. “He’s been very helpful.”
Knight said he enjoys volunteering because he gets the chance to provide care to patients who need it but don’t have insurance.
“A lot of people just can’t afford a dentist,” he said.
Knight saw 10 patients to whom he administered care, including fillings and extractions.
“To get 10 people in this morning, it’s a good opportunity to help a lot of people,” Beiler said.
At Florence Bowser Elementary, members of the Suffolk Police Department dedicated their time by putting mulch down in front of the school and helping the media specialist with various projects in the library.
“They’ve been very helpful and willing to do whatever they have been asked to do,” new principal Fran Barnes said. “We really needed the help spreading the mulch, and we really appreciate that getting down. It’s a heavy job for one person to do.”
Barnes said former principal Cheryl Riddick initiated the school’s participation in the Day of Caring, but when she took over in July, she thought it was a great idea.
“It’s been a really good experience,” she said. “I will definitely do it again next year and expand on it.”