Just because Lowndes County has donated less money to the local chapter of the United Way this year, doesn”t mean people don”t care.
Proof of Lowndes County”s concern was evident today as volunteers participated in the annual Day to Care, the preceding event to the United Way”s 2010 campaign kickoff.
About 160 volunteers lent their time and work at locations such as the Lowndes County 4-H office, the YMCA”s Camp Henry Pratt, the Greater Columbus Learning Center, the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus, Recovery House and more. The majority of volunteers visited homes of the elderly Contact Helpline clients.
Volunteers participated in projects for 13 separate United Way supported agencies as far as Artesia from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
An even longer list of businesses and agencies lent their support in the form of participation.
Suzanne Ward, who works in purchasing at Wayerhauser, has been participating in Day to Care for 10 years. Today she and co-worker Louise Turner were painting ceilings at the local Mississippi State University Extension Service.
“It”s something we enjoy doing, to give back to the community for everything they do for us,” said Ward. “Whatever”s needed, we”ll do.”
Turner, who has been chipping in for nine years, says the feeling she gets from volunteering is all the thanks she needs.
“It just does my hear good,” she said.
Columbus Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box was on hand to paint at the United Way office. A former Unite Way director, he knows both sides of the benefits of Day to Care.
“It really helps out. The little extra things you can”t get done (the volunteers) can do,” said Box. “So many times you get caught up in the mission and the little things get by you. (The volunteers) pick up the slack.”
Box was happy to pick up a paintbrush for the sake of the United Way.
“It might not be the most professional job. We”ll smear some paint on the wall and hope it dries,” he joked.
Ballard said volunteers visiting elderly clients of Contact Helpline, Dial-A-Bus and Home Delivered Meals, would do everything from mowing lawns to washing walls to fixing cabinets.
She says many of the volunteers will have the added incentive of meeting the very people who will benefit from their work.
A Day to Care luncheon was planned as a “thank you” to United Way volunteers and supporters at the Trotter Convention Center.
Jan Ballard, director of the Lowndes County United Way, said the support shown during Day to Care is always refreshing.
“I love seeing all of our supporters come together on Day to Care as one big family to celebrate the event and kick off our campaign. It reminds me of why my job is so special,” said Ballard.
Jason Browne was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.