Austin turns out for Day of Caring

Published 7:52 am Monday, September 27, 2010

Volunteers from Faith Church pitch in at the home of Julie Everson during the United Way's fifth annual Day of Caring Saturday. - Eric Johnson/

For people like Julie Everson, Saturday’s fifth annual Day of Caring was a day to have some much needed help around the house and yard.

Everson learned about United Way’s event at the senior center and thought it was a great fit because there was work she needed done.

“This is wonderful,” she said. “I want to stay in my own home, and these type of things make it possible.”

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Most of the work was things she can’t do anymore, like climbing ladders to clean out her rain gutters. A Faith Church group of 10 people volunteered Everson’s home The group cleaned gutters, trimmed bushes, washed windows and cleaned around the outside of the house.

Erin Anderson, 12, cleans windows at the home of Julie Everson Saturday as part of the fifth annual Day of Caring. Anderson was part of a crew from Faith Church taking part in the event. - Eric Johnson/

Judi Needham, church administrator, said the volunteering follows a tree metaphor church members aim to follow: Rooted in Christ, growing in faith, branching out.

Church members were out sandbagging a few nights ago before the flood moved in, and she said members try to volunteer as often as possible.

About 200 people were scheduled to volunteer on 25 projects for Day of Caring, but a few painting projects were postponed because of the recent wet weather. United Way Director Mandi Lighthizer-Schmidt said they’ll be rescheduled sometime in October. The volunteers help senior citizens and other residents with work they can no longer do themselves.

All 66 members of the AHS Boys Soccer team are helping out at the Nature Center next week since their project was canceled for this Friday.

Day of Caring started with a kick off breakfast at the Austin High School cafeteria at 8 a.m. After a few brief comments from United Way staff, volunteers headed out to work on their projects.

“I think its important because it really connects people with other people in the community in the community that are in need,” Lighthizer-Schmidt said.

Lighthizer-Schmidt said the event has grown its five years in Austin. While the first Day of Caring attracted about 70 volunteers, more than 250 participates last year.

“We don’t ask a lot of time, and people make real change for other people in that small amount of time,” she said.

“It’s a great way to care for your neighbor and the community,” she said.