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Day of Caring set for Aug. 28

The event kicks off the United Way's annual fund-raising campaign

The event kicks off the United Way's annual fund-raising campaign

August 23, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

More than 220 volunteers have pledged to fan out and do good deeds Aug. 28, which is United Way of Washington County's 11th annual Day of Caring.

Representing 16 groups and businesses, the volunteers will mulch, paint, scrub, build and do other things for nonprofit organizations that need some help.

Since 1999, the Day of Caring has kicked off the United Way's annual fund-raising campaign.

The United Way hopes to raise $1.7 million this year, Robert Ernst II, the 2002 campaign chairman, said Thursday during an informal press conference at the United Way's office north of Hagerstown.

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The fund drive will run until Dec. 12.

United Way of Washington County Executive Director James Taylor said last year's fund-raising goal of $1.8 million was "ambitious." The agency raised a little more than $1.6 million.

"Last year was a difficult year for all fund-raisers because of Sept. 11," Ernst said.

Many people gave to causes that would help victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, diverting money that other charities normally would have received.

Ernst, who works for F&M Bank, said there would not be a different approach to fund-raising this year.

"We'll just remind people that the feeling they had of giving was the right instinct," he said.

"They never stopped giving. They just gave differently," said Sharon Martin of First Data Merchant Services, the chairwoman of the Day of Caring Committee.

While some United Way chapters have chosen the coming Sept. 11 as the first day of their fund-raising campaigns, "we have actually shied away from that," Taylor said.

The attacks stunned the nation, but the direct impact on Washington County was relatively small, so the Sept. 11 anniversary is not an appropriate connection for the United Way fund drive, Taylor said.

Although the Day of Caring is next week, Ernst said that fund raising is already under way.

Ernst said about 40 to 50 people he knows have been contacting area organizations and businesses about contributing.

The Day of Caring will begin with a 7:30 a.m. breakfast at the First Christian Church on Potomac Avenue.

Martin said she and other First Data employees will paint and landscape for Girls Inc., trim and mulch trees for the Mason-Dixon Council of the Boy Scouts of America, install lights and paint a locker room for the Boys and Girls Club and read to children at the Hagerstown YMCA.

Physical labor is a nice alternative to sitting at a desk at work all day, Martin said.

Not all of the work is grueling or messy.

For example, volunteers also will help the Alzheimer's Association prepare mail packets, the Washington County Commission on Aging prepare and serve food, Food Resources Inc. sort products and Community Action Council deliver Meals on Wheels packages.

Taylor said the volunteer work helps people understand the health and social service agencies that receive United Way money.

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