Approximately 140 volunteers gathered early Saturday morning for community participation in the area’s first Sedalia-Pettis County United Way Day of Caring.
Volunteers met on the parking lot of Pettis County Community Partnership located at State Fair Shopping Center. Sponsors provided breakfast, lunch and materials for each to complete their projects. They were also given a bag, by SPCUW Director Staci Harrison, with a United Way T-shirt and tools provided by Lowes and Big Lots.
“It’s our inaugural event,” Harrison said. “”We started out with 16 teams and we have 15 actively participating.”
She said that the Day of Caring “is an opportunity” for people who may not have the financial ability to give back to their community, but have talents and skills, to do so.
“There’s also people in our community that need help,” she added. “This was an opportunity to pair those two groups of people. Really, it’s just a large event of neighbors helping neighbors.”
Harrison said there were 16 projects that the teams would be working on during the day.
‘The Day of Caring event is not new to United Way,” Harrison noted. “Many United Way communities have the Day of Caring. So, when I learned of this opportunity, I presented it to my board. We always know the need is there, and we always know that there are people who want to step up and meet that need. So, we just made that an opportunity for Pettis County. Our next Day of Caring will be on Oct. 22, 2016.”
Team Pittsburgh Corning, under the direction of Janet Bice, had a total of 13 participating in the event with two projects to work on for the day.
“Mike (Hillburn) is a team captain, and there is a railing for a senior citizen that is rusted and these gentle men will be working on it,” Bice said. “Ryan (Durrill) has our second project which is on Broadway. We will be doing yard work.”
Bice added that she is a board member this year of SPCUW.
“I’m actually a presidential appointee,” she said. “This is the first year that United Way is doing the Day of Caring (locally). They were asking for team applications and team projects so I asked Mike Bradford, our plant manager, if we could do it and he sent out a request for volunteers.”
She said they received a good response with 11 volunteers from Pittsburgh Corning plus two others who would be helping with their project.
A team from Whiteman Air Force Base’s 495th Fighter Group, Detachment 303, brought eight volunteers on Saturday.
“We are building a wheelchair ramp for a disabled gentleman,” Master Sgt. Brandon Thompson said. “I haven’t helped with United Way before, but personally, I’ve helped with projects similar to this when I was stationed in Texas. They did a Christmas in Action which was very similar.
“In fact a lot of the ideas we had there, I brought up here,” he added. “I’ve been working with Staci kind of putting this thing together. She’s done most of the leg-work, I’ve just been shooting her ideas.”
Sedalia Civil Air Patrol Commander James Godar said their team would be working in Smithton on their project.
“Our project is doing some house work; some cleaning out of a house and cleaning up the area (around) the house,” he said. “It’s for one of our members who is also a veteran.”
Godar added the the group has participated in SPCUW events in the past.
“Previously we helped with some envelope stuffing for them,” he added. “United Way sponsors us … they’ve given us some funding for the cadets to buy uniforms and other supplies that they need.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri, Team Great Future, brought several volunteers including 7-year-old Paxton Pyle, son of the club’s Executive Director Jessica Pyle.
“Our motto at the club is ‘Great Futures Start Here,’” Emily Jarrett, team leader and club communication coordinator, said. “We have two projects today. In the morning we’re going to fix a railing and then do some yard work. In the afternoon, someone’s getting and R.V. road-ready. So, we’re just going to clean and paint.
“We’re real excited to get going,” she added. “United way is a great agency for Boys & Girls Clubs, so it’s nice that they are going to have a day to help give back.”
Before the teams began their day, Sedalia Mayor Stephen Galliher made the proclamation that Oct. 10 was the local Day of Caring and said that it would become an annual event.
“(We) thank the the many volunteers and agencies whose participation enriches the lives of the people of this great city,” he said.
Harrison added that she was pleased with the “wonderful” sponsors for the event.
“What makes this day whole is our board, our volunteers, our project owners or the projects and then our sponsors,” she said. “Habitat for Humanity is providing some of the financial backing for the projects. WCA, the City of Sedalia and the Rotary Club are helping with the clean-up of the trash and the debris (and) Pepsi and Country Distributing (provided) beverages.”
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.