By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
Across Etowah County today, Friday, June 15, volunteers are working hard to improve the community. Today is United Way of Etowah County’s 21st annual Day of Action.
The Day of Action is a campaign where local charities and organizations sign up to get projects done, and volunteers come out to work on the projects all together.
The Day of Action has grown by leaps and bounds since it began to be held locally. The first year United Way of Etowah County held the event, there were only 12 volunteers. Last year, there were 525 volunteers completing 2,020 volunteer hours, which equals over $40,000 worth of labor.
“It has grown every year,” said United Way of Etowah County Resource Development and Marketing Director Christi Mayo.
This year is no exception. As of Wednesday, United Way already had 626 volunteers registered to participate, and Mayo expects additional volunteers to show up this morning. With 626 volunteers, 3190 hours of volunteer work will be completed, totaling over $78,000 worth of work for the community.
This year the 39 participating agencies submitted seven total projects to be worked on. These projects range from maintenance tasks such as cleaning, painting and landscaping to specialized projects such as delivering meals for MANNA.
Even local students volunteer for the Day of Action. Gadsden City High School football players and cheerleaders hosted cheerleading and football camps for the Boys and Girls Club. The Gadsden Titan Ambassadors will be cleaning and doing landscaping work at The Salvation Army.
Having groups participate in the Day of Action is par for the course. Since Etowah County started Day of Action, companies have partnered with United Way to volunteer in the event. This year, 54 companies participated in this manner.
Volunteers begin working at 8 a.m. and will go to Gadsden Convention Hall at 11:30 a.m. for lunch.
After participating, volunteers fill out cards for United Way to give feedback on the Day of Action.
Last year, one volunteer anonymously shared her touching story.
“I had the opportunity to give back to an organization that helped me several years ago. We painted bedrooms at the 13th Place today, which is a children’s home that my sister and I stayed at during a difficult time for my family. The bedroom I painted was actually the same bedroom that my sister and I slept in during that time. It was very meaningful for me to be able to give back in some way and it reminded me of how far I’ve come.”