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175 spend day painting, cleaning to help charities

July 19, 1998

photo: MIKE CRUPI / staff photographer

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Day of CaringBy GUY FLETCHER / Staff Writer

The Community Action Council office on Summit Avenue was in need of some serious work - repainting several rooms, installing new ceiling tiles and doing other repairs for the agency that helps low- and moderate-income families.

But the nonprofit organization didn't have the money to pay for such work, which likely would have cost thousands of dollars in materials and labor, officials said.

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Fortunately for CAC and several other nonprofit agencies, they were besieged Saturday morning with dozens of volunteers armed with paintbrushes, dropcloths and tools to do the work for free.

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"It's something that helps us to enhance our building, helping to make it a more pleasant environment," said Kathy Saxman, community housing coordinator for CAC.

The effort at CAC was part of the United Way of Washington County's annual Day of Caring, in which 175 volunteers gave their time and energy to physically improving the organizations the United Way serves.

The volunteers, employees of companies that help fund the United Way and their families, did everything from cleaning windows and floors, to delivering donated office furniture and painting walls.

"It's basically free labor, and getting stuff done that they needed to get done," said Tina Rivellino, campaign coordinator for the United Way of Washington County.

JoAnn Kline, leader of the St. Lawrence Cement team that was cleaning the Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused (CASA) offices, said she has been volunteering for the Day of Caring for five years.

"I do it because I care about the community," said Kline, of Hagerstown.

Her co-worker, Marlene Nigh of Funkstown, working with a paintbrush in hand at the CAC offices, said, "I feel like you're actually helping, you're doing something. You're making a difference."

At the W House, a residential center for woman recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, employees of United Parcel Service also took to the paintbrushes to brighten the building's interior.

"It's just trying to help the community we work in," said Jan Coffey, a Hagerstown resident.

Last year, UPS employees replaced carpeting at the W House and they try to help the agency with other projects all year, Coffey said.

"We've kind of adopted them," she said.

Those who run the nonprofit agencies said they are thrilled to have the help.

"It's essential to us," said Christina Trenton, executive director of W House. "It's essential to the nonprofits to have the support of the community and the businesses."

Vicki Sadehvandi, executive director of CASA, said, "My staff just couldn't believe that people are that committed to helping."

Sadehvandi said it was especially encouraging to see so many youth volunteering, because people often hear about the bad things that children do.

"I think it's so important there's kids out there helping every day," she said.

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