Day of Caring: Volunteers pitch in around community

Gerard Edic, Staff Writer, Greenwood Commonwealth

For years, the United Way of Leflore County had a local tradition of holding a Day of Caring, in which volunteers donated their time and talents to assist several of the organization’s nonprofit agencies.

After some four years without one, the United Way and Greenwood Leflore Hospital brought back the tradition Saturday as more than 30 volunteers worked across the community.

“It was a fantastic turnout. We’re really excited that Greenwood Leflore Hospital wanted to partner with us,” said Courtney Kimmel, United Way executive director.

“There were at least 3O volunteers from the hospital,” said Gwen Neal, the hospital’s director of service excellence. Other volunteers also joined in.

Freda Maxey, who served as the United Way executive director for 18 years until her retirement in October 2015, said the Day of Caring event had been very effective in the past at getting work done.

“We would have 25 to 30 projects lined up,” Maxey recalled. “We’d have so many people until they knocked the job out.”

In recent years, it has been difficult to secure enough volunteers to take on the tasks, Kimmel said.

“Greenwood Leflore Hospital approached us wanting to do a Day of Caring,” Kimmel said. “With the hospital we were able to help seven non¬profits in town.”

Work performed Saturday included cleaning and refurbishing ArtPlace Mississippi’s building, painting the kitchen in Beacon Harbor’s No. 3 house, replacing the flooring at the Boys & Girls Club, repairing The Salvation Army’s church, repairing throughout the area with the help of the Fuller Center, refurbishing the walls and floor at the Community Kitchen and helping at the Community Food Pantry.

Before their work, volunteers gathered at the Community Kitchen for breakfast. Carman Jones, one volunteer, was glad to spend the day helping.

“I feel like it’s good to give back to the community,” she said. “There’s so many people that need help; why not?”

Jones was assigned to The Salvation Army’s church, where she helped paint the walls.

Sitting next to Jones was Eddie Reed, another volunteer.

“The reason I came today, I just like to give back to the community,” he said. “It’s always a blessing when you give back to the public.”

All of the projects were finished around 3 p.m., Kimmel said. “All of the agency heads were really excited about (the work performed),” she said. “That’s really the award in the end.”

Kimmel added that the Day of Caring would not be feasible without the donations of supplies for volunteers to use, as well as the help of the Community Kitchen to provide the meals.