Photo by Ginny Kropf: Emegriz Ryan, left, and Gina Burns, both employees of Baxter Healthcare, hold their goodie bags they received as volunteers for Day of Caring on Friday.
More than 100 volunteers gave up their day Friday to participate in United Way of Orleans County’s annual Day of Caring, and another group volunteered on Saturday to help with the garden at Supportive Care of Orleans.
United Way director Dean Bellack welcomed the volunteers on Friday who then enjoyed breakfast before embarking on their assignments.
United Way’s board president Jackie Gardner added her welcome and thanked the volunteers.
“You have no idea how important the work you are doing is to our agencies,” Gardner said. “I work for Community Action, which is supported by United Way, and we depend heavily on volunteers. We couldn’t do the work we do for the community without volunteers. I come to this event every year and every year there are more of you. I am so humbled by your support.”
Bellack also introduced United Way’s grant writer Matt Holland; Robert Batt, director of Cornell Cooperative Extension, who provided the space for meeting; and Katie Leach, coordinator of the Digital Literacy project at Cooperative Extension.
Volunteers came from numerous organizations throughout the county, including Baxter, Orleans Community Health, GCASA, Orleans County Mental Health, Community Action, Albion FFA, Medina Lions, Medina High School, Self Advocacy All Stars, Takeform, Albion Correctional Facility and Medina Sandstone Society.
Volunteers did a variety of tasks, from painting decks and folding clothes to shredding paper and working in flower beds.
Project sites were the ARC’s Camp Rainbow, ARC’s Orleans Enterprises, Community Action, Head Start, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Main Street Store, YMCA, Project Stork, Medina Historical Society, P Raising Kids, Medina Railroad Museum and Bullard Park.
CRFS employees who volunteered at Hospice on Saturday were Steve Mowers (president), Libby Bentley, Dena Pogue and Rose Friedl with her two children. Second from left is Nyla Gaylord, event coordinator at United Way of Orleans County, who arranged breakfast at Hospice for the volunteers.
Emegriz Ryan from Baxter Healthcare said she volunteered last year and had such a good time helping to clean the playground at the former Towne School.
“I like helping people, not only at work, but outside in the community,” she said.
Gina Burns, who came with her, said this was her first year volunteering. She saw the information posted on the bulletin board at work and wanted to help.
“Besides, Emegriz said it would be a lot of fun,” Burns said.
Diana Fulcomer from GCASA was sent to paint at the Medina Railroad Museum. In the past she was volunteer coordinator for the Museum’s Day Out With Thomas, so getting to help at the museum made her feel right at home, she said.
Volunteers from Velociti spent Saturday working in the yard at Supportive Care of Orleans County (Hospice). Velociti members were Desiree Dunn, Brenda Jo Nanni, Hailey Engel, Deanna Mangiola, Dorothy Wilson, Polly Morien and Nichole Lewis.
This year’s Day of Caring was one of the most successful in United Way of Orleans County’s history. Not only did an amazing number of volunteers show up on Friday, but another crew from CRFS and Velociti arrived on Saturday when they were unable to leave work on Friday.
Nyla Gaylord, event coordinator at United Way, coordinated their efforts on Saturday and arranged for breakfast to be served at Supportive Care before they started work.
“We are blessed to have such community support,” Bellack said. “How happy Hospice is because we went to the extra effort to get them a work crew on Saturday.”
Steve Mowers, president of CRFS, led his team which volunteered at Hospice.
“I want them to learn the importance of helping others,” Mowers said.
The group weeded and mulched the Memorial Garden.
“This garden is special to everybody and we want it to be nice,” said Maggie Stewart, director of development at Supportive Care.
“We are so grateful for all of the volunteers who came to help us out Saturday morning,” said Julie Kumiega, director of Supportive Care. “Our volunteers and the community’s continued support allow us to help our neighbors in need.”
Kumiega added they have plenty of volunteer opportunities available during the summer, including the Holley June Fest on June 4, Albion Strawberry Festival June 9 and 10, the annual golf tournament July 20, Orleans’ Toast to Hospice on Aug. 27, the ninth annual car show Sept. 10 and a memory walk in October.
In addition to Saturday’s special crew, Friday’s volunteers came from Takeform, Self Advocacy All Stars, Albion Correctional Facility, Baxter Healthcare, GCASA, Medina Sandstone Society, Orleans Community Health, Orleans County Mental Health, Community Action, Albion FFA and Medina High School.
Self-Advocacy All Stars painted the shed for the Main Street Store in Albion. Pictured include Tyler, James, Duane, Jonathan Doherty, ARC GLOW employee Karen Appleman and Mike Woodard.