BRISTOL - Volunteers were out in force Friday, as part of the United Way of West Central Connecticut’s 27th annual Day of Caring.
“Day of Caring is chance for all individuals in our communities to give, advocate, and volunteer,” according to a statement from Kimberly Carmelich, UWWCC resource development coordinator.
“It’s a day to join hands, open your heart, and find your voice,” she said. “Day of Caring is an annual United Way sponsored event offering hundreds of people the opportunity to volunteer at non-profit agencies in our community.”
Day of Caring began in 1992 as a way to help employees of local corporations interact with human service agencies and has grown since then, Carmelich said. “While United Way promotes community service volunteer efforts year-round, this day brings hundreds of people together to make a difference in their community.”
Dozens of volunteers went out Friday to lend a helping hand at non-profit organizations in the four communities the UWWCC serves: Bristol, Burlington, Plainville and Plymouth.
At Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, nine volunteers from Bristol Hospital, Webster Bank, and Burlington were on hand to organize food donations for the church’s Meals for Neighbors soup kitchen and Food Share distribution site.
“They came in bright and early and they’ve been working their tails off. They’ve unbelievable,” said Cheryl Yetke, Meals for Neighbors executive director.
The post office’s Stamp Out Hunger food drive held recently, in which letter carriers collected boxes of non-perishable food donations from postal customers, locally distributed the food among seven different groups, Yetke said. “We got about 9,000 pounds of food. It was a lot to organize.”
Cindy McCool, who works in Volunteer Services at the hospital, said they checked the expiration dates on the canned goods and grouped them by date. “We do this every year, we always come here,” she said.
“We’re very good at it now,” said Andrea Adams, from the hospital’s Patient Relations Department. “They have a system to follow, so we pretty much have the system down and our goal is to get through every box of food. There were a lot of boxes, people were very generous.”
“They were unbelievable,” Yetke said. “They also did spring cleaning, getting the windows washed, the curtains washed. We love having these extra hands.”
Volunteers came from the following local companies and organizations:
AstraZeneca, Barnes Group Inc., Associated Spring HQ, Associated Spring Bristol, Bauer Inc., Bristol Exchange Club, Bristol Hospital, Bristol Housing Authority, Cigna, City of Bristol.
DoubleTree Hotel, Farmington Bank, First Bristol Federal Credit Union, GE, GEM Sensors & Controls, Kohl’s, Jensen Communities, Pier 1 Imports, Pines of Bristol, Plainville Rotary Club.
Plymouth Parks & Recreation, PYVOT, Salvation Army, Thomaston Savings Bank, Town of Burlington, and Webster Bank.
Local youth groups participating included: Bristol Sports Hall of Fame, United Way Youth Board, and students and faculty advisors from Bristol Eastern, Bristol Central, Lewis Mills, Plainville, St. Paul Catholic, and Terryville high schools and Bristol Preparatory Academy.
UWWCC originated as the Community Chest of Bristol in 1922 and later expanded into Burlington and Plymouth. United Way of Bristol, Burlington and Plymouth merged with the United Way of Plainville in 1996 to form United Way of West Central Connecticut, which is one of 15 independent United Ways in Connecticut and one of nearly 1,300 national and worldwide agencies.
For more information, visit www.uwwestcentralct.org .
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.