Hundreds of volunteers show they care in Panhandle

September 15, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

EASTERN PANHANDLE, W.Va. - More than 750 people fanned out across Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties Tuesday to haul tons of trash from local highways, work in parks, spruce up local Boys & Girls clubs and help older residents with home improvement projects.

It was the United Way's annual Day of Caring, for which volunteers put their personal schedules aside to give back to their communities.

In Berkeley County, volunteers helped Berkeley Community Pride, an organization established to fight litter in the county, said Jan Callen, executive director of the United Way of Berkeley and Morgan Counties.


Day of Caring participants picked up trash on six highways and roads such as W.Va. 45, Berkeley Station Road, Grapevine Road and Dry Run Road, Callen said.

Callen said workers picked up an estimated 6 tons of trash.

One of the biggest projects volunteers took on was painting the gymnasium at the Boys & Girls Club of Berkeley County at the intersection of Queen and John streets in Martinsburg, Callen said.

"It was drab, and now it's all spruced-up and bright," Callen said.

About 150 high school students, middle school students and students from Faith Christian Academy also joined the effort, Callen said.

The students did landscaping and cleanup work at War Memorial Park, cut new trails at the Yankauer Nature Preserve near Bedington, W.Va., and restocked shelves at a local food pantry, Callen said.

More than 500 volunteers worked on 40 projects in Berkeley and Morgan counties in the 10th annual Day of Caring, Callen said.

More than 250 volunteers worked on 32 projects in Jefferson County as part of the ninth annual Day of Caring in that county, said David Irvin, event chairman.

Some of the volunteers joined with the Good Shepherd Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers organization to help elderly people with home improvement projects, Irvin said. Volunteers helped to paint two houses and do landscaping and other work around a third home, Irvin said.

Workers did landscaping and built a ramp for handicapped people at the Jefferson County Animal Welfare Society along Leetown Road, stripped and waxed a gym floor at the Boys & Girls Club of Jefferson County and tackled five jobs at the Old Opera House on George Street in Charles Town.

"We're tired right now. We must have done something," said Mickey Johnson, joking about the day's work at the playhouse.

Volunteers cleaned out the basement of the Old Opera House where set design materials are stored. They also painted windows, helped install new bathrooms, put up shelving and doors on a closet and hung curtains in the front lobby, Johnson said.

Johnson was part of group of Charles Town Kiwanis members doing the work.

At the Charles Town (W.Va.) Library, Jefferson High School students and other volunteers installed landscaping timbers around the perimeter of the library's parking lot. Then they laid mulch along the ties and put in plants.

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