Community comes together for Day of Caring

First Bank staff members Kim Ryman, regional manager, left, and Tonya Whitacre, document center manager, tag fall and winter apparel at Lydia's Clothes Closet on Thursday as part of the United Way Day of Caring. Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG  Local businesses, groups, and organizations came together to kick off the 2018 United Way Campaign with the annual Day of Caring on Wednesday.

For two days, the United Way of Northern Shenandoah County, which comprises Winchester, Shenandoah, Frederick, Clarke, and Page counties, teamed-up with First Bank to work on completing community service projects. This year, Day of Caring saw an estimated 1,200 volunteers working over 142 projects in the Shenandoah Valley. The dollar value from the effort of the volunteers over the two days was nearly $250,000, a $70,000 increase from last year.

One shop in the community that took part in Day of Caring is Lydia’s Clothes Closet, a nonprofit thrift store that sells used clothes, along with kid’s toys and household goods. Kath Stanley, who is the manager of Lydia’s, said that this was the first year Lydia’s had taken part in the Day of Caring and she’s happy to have been part of it.

“Taking part in this is absolutely fabulous,” Stanley said. 

Nine volunteers joined the two volunteers who normally work on Thursdays at Lydia’s to sort through clothes and transition the shop from summer clothes to fall clothes. Stanley said that when the shop has done “change-over” periods like this in the past, they would have to close the shop down and they couldn’t create any revenue to pay for operating costs, so the assistance from the United Way volunteers was a big help.

First Bank's Jamie Lam, compliance administrator, left, and Jim Youngblood, senior loan officer, bag summer merchandise inside Lydia's Clothes Closet on Thursday. Rich Cooley/Daily

“Lydia’s is run by volunteers,” Stanley said. “No one who works here on a day-to-day basis gets paid. We also have a generous community who gives us wonderful clothes and houseware. The ability to have great clothes, which the team cleans at all times, helps us generate our revenue.”

Jessica Shifflett, who is the banking center manager at First Bank in Mount Jackson, has worked with the bank for over three years and has also participated in Day of Caring for three years by doing such activities as helping out at senior centers.

“It’s such a great cause,” Shifflett said. “We love to get involved in the community.”

Jim Youngblood, who works in Winchester as the senior loan officer with First Bank, has been a part of Day of Caring for five years. 

“It’s an outreach and something we do to support our communities,” Youngblood said. “It’s something the bank supports, and it’s something for us to get out from behind the desk and support the community. We’re trying our best to be good corporate citizens.”

Youngblood had high praise for United Way and its handling of the Day of Caring.

“The United Way does a great job in coordinating this,” Youngblood said. “It’s a lot of meaningful work that gets done. It’s a grand effort. A lot of these nonprofit businesses and individuals might not get these benefits without United Way.”

Other United Way volunteer jobs in Shenandoah County on Thursday included landscaping work at the Family Promise of Shenandoah County in Woodstock and a deep cleaning, gardening and landscaping at the Northwestern Community Services Board in New Market. Voluteers also worked on landscaping at the Page Free Clinic in Page County, and on painting, cleaning and landscaping at Page One of Page County in Luray.

For more information on Day of Caring or United Way, visit the United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley website at www.unitedwaynsv.org/day-caring or call the office at 540-536-1610.