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United Day of Caring

Local employees got a day off to do a different kind of work than they are used to doing.

United Way held its annual United Day of Caring throughout the world on Sept. 18. On this day, organizations let their employees volunteer for the day instead of coming in for work. One of the locations was at ForKids in Suffolk.

Volunteers from Sentara Obici Hospital came to ForKids to help clean and organize. Due to rain, no outdoor projects were able to be done. Only eight volunteers came for this location, which is significantly less than past years but it made social distancing much easier.

“Sentara Obici Hospital is a longtime supporter of the United Way and the great work they do.” Jessica Lowder, vice president of operations for Sentara Obici Hospital. “Our team members look forward to the annual Day of Caring and the opportunity it provides to give back to our community. I almost avoid calling it giving back because we volunteers get so much fulfillment and rejuvenation out of the day.”

The volunteers cleaned out the ForKids vans and cleaned and organized the food pantry and the school supply closet. ForKids receives donations from different groups in the community, including sororities, churches, and other drives. Kroger recently donated school supplies to the closet that had not yet been properly put into it.

“One important piece is that we want staff to spend as much time as possible with families,” said Sarah Johnson, chief services officer at ForKids. “The less time they have to spend cleaning and organizing is more time they get with the families.”

United Way’s mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities worldwide to advance the common good.

“The Day of Caring is a beautiful display of the incredible impact a passionate group of volunteers can have in just one day,” said Michele Anderson, president, and CEO of United Way of South Hampton Roads. “Particularly during such a difficult time in our community, it is such an inspiration to see the over 300 volunteers give their time to help our local nonprofits address critical projects while freeing up dollars that can be used to serve those in need. This is what it means to live united.”