United Way celebrates week of caring

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 16, 1999

Last year’s United Way day of caring has become this year’s full week of generous acts.

Thursday, September 16, 1999

Last year’s United Way day of caring has become this year’s full week of generous acts.

Email newsletter signup

The United Way week of caring is a nationwide event that pairs community businesses with various agencies. Employees of participating businesses are often paid their regular wages to do volunteer work for a community agency.

This is the second year the organization has implemented such an effort.

From painting to landscaping, volunteers will leave their offices, shops and assembly lines to help out others in the community.

&uot;A lot of relationships are being built in the community,&uot; said Nancy Vanderwaerdt, a coordinator of the event. &uot;It’s one way that companies can show leadership in the community.&uot;

Barb Butler, a second coordinator, added, &uot;Volunteers spend time with recipients and see where their money and efforts go.

&uot;It creates a sense of community and pride,&uot; Butler continued. &uot;People go by the park and say, ‘I remember when I took some kids for a picnic there.’ Or they go by the day care center and see how they’ve made the playground equipment safer.&uot;

Close to 10 different agencies are benefiting from United Way’s week of caring.

The volunteers will be working at the Family Y, Habitat for Humanity, Albert Lea Community Child Care Center, Community Action Center, Salvation Army, Crime Victims Crisis Center, Chemical Dependency Center, Cedar Valley Services, Arc and American Red Cross.

Employees from Lou-Rich helped to paint the interior of the Salvation Army’s Community Center.

&uot;We wanted to give something back to the community,&uot; said Lou-Rich employee Janet Schumaker.

Although it’s the first year Lou-Rich has participated, Ann Greibrok said &uot;We hope to see this continue.&uot; She said she would be willing to volunteer again next year.

After the success of last year’s day of caring, Butler and Vanderwaerdt had little problem signing on more volunteers for this year’s week-long event.

&uot;It was a new idea last year, and they didn’t have as much lead time. We had a lot more time this year to call businesses,&uot; Vanderwaerdt said.

Last year’s day of caring had three participating businesses – Wal-Mart, Americana National Bank and Streater. This year, they’re joined by six others.

Schweigert Foods, Riverland Community College, Lou-Rich, Alliant Energy, Mrs. Gerry’s Kitchen and the Albert Lea Medical Center have signed on as well.

Also, students from two Albert Lea High School classes are helping out at Knutson Place, Senior Tower and Channelview Thursday and Friday, and at Senior Court Monday. The students are distributing information about crime and safety to seniors.

&uot;We’re really grateful for the businesses that participate and the individuals as well,&uot; Vanderwaerdt said. &uot;Freeborn County continues to be a caring community throughout the year.&uot;