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United Way needs more volunteers for projects

May 11, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Scores of people, local companies and civic groups already have volunteered for almost 20 United Way of Franklin County May of Caring projects, but a few more are needed to complete the list, Executive Director Amy Hicks said.

"We usually have 200 volunteers, sometimes a little bit more to help on the projects, ... which are specifically targeted at the nonprofit community," Hicks said. "This is the month that we really promote volunteerism, but projects like this are available year-round."

With the first third of May crossed off the calendar, some good works already have concluded, such as the Friends of Legal Services Book Sale. Mahesh Rao, director of Franklin County Legal Services, said this year's event was the biggest in the 24-year history of the event with the sale of about 60,000 donated books raising about $46,000.

The Chambersburg Rotary Club, Menno Haven and Manito Inc. were among the groups that supplied volunteers for the sale, Hicks said.

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Saturday was the U.S. Post Office Food Drive to replenish the food pantries of the Waynesboro Welfare Association, Waynesboro Human Services and The Lunch Place, said Connie Hopper, assistant director of the welfare association.

"It's thousands of pounds," Hopper said. "It's a lot of food."

The drive collected 8,900 pounds of food in 2006, she said.

"We register maybe seven or eight new clients a month," Hopper said. Because of the price of gas, inflation, losing a job or other circumstances, these individuals and families are unable to make ends meet, she said.

Jack Gaughen Realtor ERA was listed as the volunteer business for the food drive, and Hicks said most of the projects have volunteer teams from businesses. Summit Health will be doing grounds work for the Franklin County Therapeutic Riding Center; Merrill Lynch is supplying volunteers to paint the Waynesboro Daycare Center; Orrstown Bank will be painting and cleaning up at a Girl Scout camp; and Target volunteers will do the same at a Boy Scout camp.

"Almost any team on that sheet has been involved with us for years," Hicks said.

Others involved include M&T Bank, F&M Bank, Kiwanis, Rustoleum and Franklin County employees.

The United Way still would like to hear from some groups interested in tackling other projects, Hicks said. People are needed to do cleanup and painting at the offices of Easter Seals; a picnic table needs to be built for the Franklin County Shelter for the Homeless; Occupational Services Inc. needs a ramp demolished and a new one built at the home of a wheelchair-bound client; and Mid-Penn Legal Services could use a few strong backs to haul boxes of documents to be shredded.

Individuals or groups interested in taking on those projects, or who wish to volunteer for future projects, can call the United Way at 717-262-0015.

The United Way itself has recruited volunteers to help in the move to its new headquarters, Hicks said. On May 30, the agency is moving from Coldbrook Avenue to the former offices of oral surgeon Dr. Roy Himelfarb at 182 S. Second St.

The move was made possible by the late Herbert Essich of Waynesboro, who left an endowment to the United Way in 1997 for the purpose of buying a building. The trust grew to more than $211,000, which went toward the purchase of the 2,400-square-foot building.

Himelfarb and his wife, Deborah, were instrumental in helping the United Way be able to afford the building, and a "quiet campaign" is under way to pay off the mortgage, Hicks said.

Along with off-street parking, the building has a large conference room, several rooms for offices, storage space and other amenities the current site lacks, Hicks said. The conference room will be available for other nonprofit organizations and community groups to use by appointment, she said.

Manitowoc Crane donated file cabinets and furnishings for the building, Hicks said.

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