Reprinted from SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / PETER JASINSKI
This was the 21st year of the United Way’s annual Day of Caring, which aided 59 local nonprofits this year with projects ranging from office work, general maintenance and landscaping.
Event volunteers included employees from companies such as Tyco Simplex-Grinnell, Hannaford Supermarkets and Shriver Jobs Corps, as well as Mount Wachusett Community College, Fitchburg State University and Heywood Hospital.
“We owe a special thanks to the volunteers, agencies and sponsors. These are projects that the organizations aren’t able to complete, due to fiscal constraints or lack of manpower, so they look forward to this day,” United Way Day of Caring Chairwoman Cheryl Becotte explained. Becotte said more than 2,000 local students also participated, taking on projects at their schools.
For many, the Day of Caring marks an annual tradition they look forward to every year. “It’s rewarding knowing that what you’re doing is helping others and it’s not like it’s costing me anything to do it,” said Julie Grady, a customer-service representative for Littleton-based PolyOne Distribution. Friday marked Grady’s sixth year of taking part in the Day of Caring and she’s chosen to work with the nonprofit Growing Places in Leominster each time.
This year had volunteers building raised gardening beds and weeded existing gardens managed by Growing Places. “With a small staff and so many other things going on, more hands make lighter work, so for Growing Places, the volunteers are a huge deal,” said Kelly Johnson, who serves on the board of directors.
The Westminster Historical Society benefited from Westminster-based Tyco SimplexGrinnell employees entering information into the society’s directory of historic homes and Aubuchon Hardware employees sorting through donations for next Saturday’s “Attic Treasures Sale.” “It’s something we’ve been doing for years now,” said Aubuchon employee Lisa Gilbert. “I just wanted to give back.”
For Tyco SimplexGrinnell job cost specialist Adam Burley, this was his first year of taking part in the Day of Caring. “We have good people here, we all work together in the same department, and we’ve been having a pretty fun day,” Burley said of the time he and his coworkers spent painting hallways at LUK Inc. in Fitchburg.
Also taking part in the painting was Carol Jacobson, an associate director of alumni relations for Mount Wachusett Community College. “I think it’s extremely important that the people in our community get out more and get to see what the need is,” she said. “I started about ten years working in this general area and volunteering my time through the United Way and I can’t get over the things I’ve learned about what happens in our communityand how to help others.”
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