Day of Caring 'stronger than ever' in Eastern Panhandle

September 11, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • Working to fill Panhandle Home Health Inc. new patient intake information packs during Tuesday's Day of Caring are General Federation of Womens Clubs Martinsburg members, from left, Elizabeth Blackburn, Noreen Harvey and Kathy Graham.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — An army of 1,300 volunteers wearing lime green T-shirts fanned out across the Eastern Panhandle on Tuesday to do repair and clean-up projects while at the same time continuing an 18-year tradition.

Volunteers working for The United Way of the Eastern Panhandle’s annual Day of Caring did 49 projects in Berkeley County, 47 in Jefferson County and 20 in Morgan County.

An 11-member steering committee takes about four months each year to select the projects from among those submitted by the 40 United Way agencies and to line up volunteers by the hundreds to do the work, said Joanne Wadsworth, chairwoman of this year’s Day of Caring.

“We’re pleased that after so many years the Day of Caring remains stronger than ever. The enthusiasm continues to grow and we’re seeing see more and more volunteers,” Wadsworth said.

Volunteers come from all walks — local businesses and banks, government agency employees, church and civic groups, college and public school students and individuals.

Employees from the U.S. Coast Guard Operation Systems Center in Martinsburg joined members of the Washington High School football team on projects at the Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County. They cleaned kennels, animal isolation rooms, bathrooms, painted outdoor trim, built a ramp and did yard work.

Blue Ridge Community and Technical College students did similar chores at the Berkeley County Humane Society. Blue Ridge students also cleaned the interior of the building, washed windows, painted and worked on playground equipment at the Tabler Child Care Learning Center.

Volunteers from the General Federation Women’s Club spend the day every year stuffing 2,000 patient folders at Panhandle Home Health, Inc. “It’s a blessing. That’s a year’s worth of folders,” Executive Director Lisa R. Bivens said.

Windows were washed, yard work was done, walls were painted and floors were installed Tuesday, Bivins said.

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races fielded a large cadre of volunteers, including members of its maintenance department. They painted and repaired buildings and landscaped at Shenandoah Women’s center buildings in Charles Town, W.Va., and Martinsburg. They also volunteered at the Shepherdstown Day Care Center.

A team of eight firefighters from the Baker Heights and Bedington fire departments and Berkeley County Fire spent all day Tuesday building a wheelchair ramp for Ronald McFarland on Edsel Drive.

Without the ramp, McFarland could not get his wheelchair out of their home, his wife, Lori McFarland said. “He has to hop down the stairs. He’s fallen a couple of times.”

That project was submitted by Shepherdstown Interfaith Caregivers, a United Way agency. Two other Caregivers projects in Shepherdstown were new gutters on an East German Street home and a new front door and railings on one on College Street.

Volunteer employees from the Bank of Charles Town painted a mural on the wall of the Boys & Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle in Martinsburg while another volunteer installed a tile floor in a bathroom.

Keleigh Taylor at United Way headquarters at 218 W. King St. in Martinsburg said Hollywood Casino bought the T-shirts that the volunteers wore Tuesday. “We bought 1,600,” she said.

Members of the Young Professionals of the Eastern Panhandle finished up a weeks-long Mega Food Drive for area food pantries in conjunction with Day of Caring.

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