United Way’s Day of Caring unites community in service

600 volunteers complete work at 45 area non-profits on September 8

“Casual Friday” took on new meaning for hundreds of volunteers on Friday, September 8, when they took part in United Way’s annual Day of Caring. Now in its 15th year, the event connects local volunteers with nonprofits in Westmoreland, Fayette and Southern Armstrong Counties who are in need of painting, landscaping, maintenance, administrative assistance and other support.

“Day of Caring is our biggest and most beloved event of the year,” said Alyssa Cholodofsky, United Way’s vice president for development and impact. “It’s about bringing people together to spread awareness of volunteerism, community collaboration, and of course, helping local people who need it most.”

This year, Day of Caring projects impacted an estimated 169,000 people in Westmoreland and Fayette Counties and surrounding communities, through beautification of parks, streetscapes and offices, as well as direct services, like mentoring and senior companionship.

   

Several larger projects required the collaboration of multiple volunteer teams, including a group of 39 volunteers from West Penn Power and Excela Health, who helped residents of Latrobe and Greensburg install home smoke alarms with the American Red Cross.

Another group of 37 volunteers worked at the Westmoreland-Fayette Boy Scout Council’s Camp Twin Echo in New Florence. Volunteers included employees from S&T Bank and clients and staff from ACHIEVA’s local vocational programs for people with special needs.

“The S&T Bank volunteers originally signed up to volunteer with the ACHIEVA program, but we asked if they would work together at the scout camp, because that project was still in need of volunteers,” said Cholodofsky. “They graciously accepted, and now we have a great partnership going between all three. They were all excited to work side-by-side.”

  


Cholodofsky said the collaboration is a “win-win-win” for all involved.

In total, over 600 people volunteered on Day of Caring, working at 45 area non-profits.

Each year, Day of Caring projects and volunteers are invited to participate through an open call process. Projects are hosted by both United Way partner organizations and non-partner organizations. Volunteer teams are organized by local employers, colleges, schools and other nonprofits.

Day of Caring is sponsored by Kennametal and ABB Inc., and received additional support from FirstEnergy Foundation, Hillview Motors, Carpenter Technology, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Smail Auto Group, UPS, Elliott Group and Peoples Natural Gas.