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Volunteers roll up sleeves for Washington County's Day of Caring

October 02, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

View the "2008 United Way Day of Caring" slideshow.

HAGERSTOWN-Mary Hoffman called the volunteers fixing up her house on Wednesday "angels without wings."

Hoffman said the City of Hagerstown, in a letter, has told her she needed to make improvements to her East North Avenue property to bring it up to code. But, each month, after paying for medicine and other expenses, there wasn't enough money left, she said.

On Wednesday, during the United Way of Washington County's Day of Caring, Hoffman got the gift of assistance.

The annual Day of Caring is a community-wide sea of helping hands, pitching in on chores for nonprofit organizations and homeowners in need.

People across the county took time off from their day jobs for a different type of labor.

The schedule called for the American Red Cross to get landscaping, the floors of Children in Need to be cleaned and food at Food Resources to be sorted.

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At the Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless building on West Franklin Street, City of Hagerstown employees folded, marked and stacked linens in one room.

Several Citi employees painted the walls of the next room.

Kelly Colbert, an operations manager for Citi and a United Way board member, said eight Citi employees helped at the REACH shelter.

Overall, about 75 to 100 people from the company worked on projects throughout the county.

Jodie Stock, REACH's executive director, said the painting was meant to liven up the place. White walls were covered up in favor of the new green hue called "Spring Spirit."

Similar brush strokes were going on at Community Action Council on Summit Avenue, where a crew from First Data Merchant Services painted over wood paneling.

Shortly after 3 p.m., volunteers Aleta Pasterkiewicz, Kristen Turner and Shanon Speak were cleaning up after about six hours of work.

"It was dark and gloomy," Pasterkiewicz said of the room before it was transformed.

The room's new look was peach.

Employees from the county's water quality department helped replace a second-floor deck on a home in the 300 block of South Locust Street.

At Hoffman's home, another group of county employees replaced wood on her front deck, then painted it. They put in new windows, and more.

Eric Seifarth of the county's planning department said it was nice to work outside for the day.

As Frank Quillen of the county's permits and inspections department spread paint on the deck, he joked, "Now I know how Huck Finn felt."

"It really makes you feel pretty good," Quillen said upon hearing how happy Hoffman was.

"I feel so blessed ...," Hoffman said, holding a plate of peanut butter, oatmeal and sugar cookies she baked for the volunteers. "Inside, I'm going 'Yippee!'"

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