Area organizations gathered for the United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley’s Day of Caring in and around Strasburg on Wednesday, lending support to clean and beautify areas that needed special attention.
With First Bank as a title sponsor, bank employees and other volunteers focused their efforts on cleaning and repairing the cemetery next to Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, the oldest public cemetery in Strasburg, said Town Council Member Christie Monahan.
The project was submitted by the Strasburg Heritage Society, which was also at the cemetery Wednesday.
Another team was at Sandy Hook Elementary School cleaning and planting flowers around the “Welcome to Sandy Hook” sign, which Monahan said had become dull and overgrown.
Additionally, the Town of Strasburg sent a volunteer team to clean at the Strasburg Museum, and Ashley Acevedo Homespire Mortgage sent volunteers from Martinsburg, West Virginia, to help at Strasburg United Methodist Church.
Around the Shenandoah Valley, the United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley Day of Caring, presented by First Bank, covered 105 projects by 41 local teams of volunteers, according to a news release from the United Way NSV.
“The annual event was established to promote the spirit and value of volunteerism, and is the largest community service day in the Shenandoah Valley,” the release says.
The local United Way saw a large increase in requests for help throughout the region and planned to hold this year’s event with various safety measures to keep participants safe.
“This day is intended to be a demonstration that great things can be accomplished when we all work together for the good of the community,” Day of Caring Chairperson Beth Falu says in the release.
“It also gives us a chance to thank and celebrate United Way and the agencies in our valley for always stepping up to the plate when disaster strikes or unfortunate circumstances hit,” she says. “Through this trying time, we’ve been determined to find another way to keep this going, and we are so glad to be able to work together to do so.”
The traditional large group morning kick-off continued this year, but in a new format, encouraging participants to attend a drive-through Day of Caring Kickoff at Shenandoah University’s Wilkins Athletic Center in Winchester.
There, participants could enjoy a drive-through breakfast sponsored by Costco, giveaways from sponsors and a car selfie station. Volunteers were invited to “slow-roll” through the party and enjoy performances by the university’s cheerleaders and pep-band
“In this time of uncertainty it’s inspiring to know that hundreds of people in our community still have the energy and selflessness to give of themselves to help their neighbors and community,” Elise Stine-Dolinar, senior director of advancement for United Way NSV, says in the release.
In Strasburg, area organizations have participated in Day of Caring for several years, Monahan said.
In 2018, a team from First Bank chose the project submitted from Lydia’s Clothes Closet, and the following year they opted for a project submitted by the Strasburg Museum.
Four projects this year makes the town’s event even bigger and more exciting, Monahan said.
“It is such a wonderful and heartwarming day of people giving back to our community,” she said.