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Day of Caring gives back to the community in Washington Co.

October 11, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

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HAGERSTOWN - Senior citizen Esther Brown said she needed her kitchen and bathroom painted, but didn't have enough money to hire a contractor.

So the 83-year-old Hagerstown resident started asking around for help, she said. On Wednesday, seven volunteers showed up at her house with buckets of paint and finished the job.

"I think it's wonderful," Brown said. "My goodness ... I didn't think this would happen in my lifetime."

Volunteer Peri Baykan, 23, said she was glad to help.

"With so much going on in the world, it's nice to make a contribution where we live," she said.

The volunteers were part of the United Way's Day of Caring program, an event in its 15th year that promotes volunteerism and helping others, said Erik Nichols, chairman for Day of Caring in Washington County.

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Nichols said more than 400 people participated Wednesday and spread out around the county, doing everything from painting projects for senior citizens to landscaping at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown.

Several area agencies, such as the Commission on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association, gave event organizers a wish list of projects that needed to be done, Nichols said. The most feasible projects were tackled Wednesday.

He said many of the volunteers were granted the day off work to participate and toiled until the jobs were done.

"It's an opportunity for folks who don't get time out from work to help the community," Nichols said.

On average, each job took four to six hours to complete, he said.

At Fairgrounds Park, Lisa Linthicum, Kendra Peacher and Kerri Everhart were among a large group of volunteers that was spreading mulch and planting bushes around the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex.

"It takes one person to start a chain of events," Linthicum said. "Events like (Day of Caring) help us change from a self-centered society into a more caring one."

Nichols said the volunteers were provided with a hot breakfast and lunch.

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