Panhandle residents show they care

September 14, 2005|by CANDICE BOSLEY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - They mopped floors, scraped paint, pulled weeds and painted a wall, all in nearly 90-degree weather. And they couldn't have been happier.

A group of students from Martinsburg High School's art department volunteered Tuesday during the United Way's 11th annual Day of Caring. They performed various tasks at the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Boys & Girls Club.

A day free from school likely prompted some to sign up, art teacher Karen Barrett said.

"They worked a whole lot harder, especially physically, than they would have sitting in school," Barrett said as she prepared to take a group photo of the students by the newly painted exterior wall. "They gave 150 percent."


Hundreds of people participated in Day of Caring in Berkeley and Morgan counties, when groups of people from local businesses and companies performed community service.

Some of the 30 project sites in Berkeley County included the American Red Cross, The Arts Centre, Berkeley Senior Services, Boy Scouts, Family Resource Network, Girl Scouts, Hospice of the Panhandle, Legal Aid, Meals on Wheels, Potomac Valley Audubon Society and Shenandoah Women's Center.

Members of the Air National Guard's 167th Airlift Wing hauled away trash if needed, including three truckloads from the Boys & Girls Club, Club Director Stefani Pierson said.

"I love Day of Caring. It's one of my favorite days," Pierson said. "It might be something simple to them, like cleaning out a room, but it's not something I have the time or manpower to do on a regular basis."

Thirty people from the high school, AT&T and Sunrise Rotary pitched in at the club at the intersection of Queen and John streets in Martinsburg.

Katie Shveda, an 11th-grader at Martinsburg High School, said she has been volunteering for Day of Caring since she was in sixth grade.

"It's a way to give back," she said.

The students originally were scheduled to paint a mural, but those plans had to be postponed. Eventually a mural will be painted, with the blue wall as a backdrop.

The blue was chosen because it's the color used in the logo for the Boys & Girls Club, which depicts two interlocking hands - or "knuckles," as some call it, Pierson said.

Children of the 1980s might liken the color to that of "The Smurfs."

Teresa McCabe, vice president of United Way of Berkeley and Morgan counties, said she was not sure exactly how many people participated, but said that all 750 Day of Caring T-shirts were gone.

The day began with a breakfast at War Memorial Park, followed by another meal, catered by Outback Steakhouse, at the end of the day.

"It seems to get bigger and bigger each year," McCabe said.

Day of Caring is used as a kickoff for the United Way's annual fall campaign. This year, the campaign goal is to raise $675,000 to be dispersed among 50 United Way agencies in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties, McCabe said.

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