Volunteers from across the Shenandoah Valley will take part in the United Way Day of Caring starting today.
Teams of volunteers will set out to help various nonprofit organizations and households in the area by painting, landscaping, cleaning, and more. The event kicks off today in Winchester, Frederick and Clarke counties. Volunteers in Shenandoah, Warren, and Page counties will take part in the event on Friday.
“Day of Caring allows us to put our mission into action by volunteering to strengthen the building blocks for a good quality of life like education, financial stability, and health,” said Elise Stine-Dolinar, director of marketing and outreach for the Northern Shenandoah Valley United Way. “We are able to connect an army of volunteers to address the most urgent needs in our community.”
Stine-Dolinar said Day of Caring draws over 1,000 volunteers each year. She said this year’s projects range from working in the fields to help provide fresh produce to area food pantries, to landscaping at nonprofit agencies, to painting at preschools, to helping seniors with yard work, to building homes for transitional families.
The Day of Caring for Shenandoah County will begin at 10 a.m. Friday at the Strasburg Museum. Other projects will be done at locations like Community Care and Learning Center in New Market and the Shenandoah Community Health Clinic in Woodstock.
“There is a great variety to our projects, but there is also a great variety of needs in our community,” Stine-Dolinar said. “We try to do whatever we can to make a difference to these great people and agencies who do so much for our community.”
In 2017, the United Way released a study called ALICE — which stands for Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed, which focused on households living below Virginia’s average cost of living. As of 2018, 10% of the 17,022 households in Shenandoah County live below the poverty line, while 10% of the 14,174 households in Warren County live below the poverty line.
Steven Schetrom, the executive director of United Way Front Royal-Warren County, said that events like Day of Caring help those households that can’t afford to get these projects done themselves.
“These people have survivability but they don’t have sustainability,” he said.
Schetrom said that over 160 volunteers will work on projects throughout Warren County on Friday. The volunteers are scheduled to work on their projects until they are completed.
“We’ve done really well this year,” he said. “We have a really well-coordinated event.”
Schetrom said that there are 20 projects scheduled for Friday, including work at the St. Luke Community Clinic and Blue Ridge Housing.
“We’re working to raise awareness but we’re also trying to help people out,” he said.