2013-09-09 16:21:56 - Nearly 1,000 Volunteers Will Spend the Day Making Kent County a Better Place to Live
Grand Rapids, Michigan, September 9, 2013 – Nearly 1,000 volunteers will spend Friday, Sept. 13 building, painting, cleaning, repairing and lending a general helping hand as part of Heart of West Michigan United Way’s annual Day of Caring.
Now in its 18th year, 30 businesses from West Michigan will partner with 50 non-profits for a day of service projects designed to make the community a better place to live. Morning sessions will from 9 a.m. to noon while afternoon sessions will run from 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Media are welcome to join volunteers from companies on-site at projects around the community.
“We are so pleased to see so many wonderful companies and their employees in Kent County continuing to our community through United Way’s Day
of Caring,” said Maureen Noe, president and CEO of Heart of West Michigan United Way. “Day of Caring allows us to facilitate connections not only between businesses and non-profits as well as between Kent County residents and their community.
“By combining volunteers, resources and funding, United Way is able to do more to make our community a better place for us all to live.”
The non-profit agency focuses on providing support to education, income and health initiatives in Kent County and targets three “bold goals:”
• Income: Assist 15,000 lower-income households to become financially stable by 2020
• Education: Reduce the high school drop-out rate in Kent County by half by 2020
• Health: Reduce rates of obesity and improve access to health care for all
Friday’s Day of Caring will include the following projects:
• North American Fuel Systems has 15 employee-volunteers who will complete a large painting project for the pantry of South End Community Outreach Ministries at 1545 Buchanan SW in support of United Way’s income goals. Morning session.
• Employees from Farmer’s Insurance will sort school supplies for the United Way Schools of Hope Stuff the Bus Project at the old City High School at 1400 Fuller Ave. NE in support of the organization’s education goals. Morning session.
• Communication Workers of America at AT&T will prepare for the Senior Meals Program county-wide food drive from at 1954 Fuller Ave NE in support of United Way’s income goals. Morning session.
• Employees from Citizens Insurance will build self-watering gardening beds from materials such as salvaged wooden pallets, tumbled glass, soil and a tarp for Oakdale Neighbors at 1260 Kalamazoo SE. These “wicking beds” promote neighborhood gardening and support United Way’s health goals. Morning session.
• More than 100 volunteers from Vector Distribution will clean up Riverside Park on behalf of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks Volunteers will be assigned work throughout the park from a base of operations located in the parking lot near the band shell in support United Way’s health goals. Morning and afternoon sessions.
United Way’s Volunteer Center connected the community and corporate volunteer teams to schools, non-profit agencies and government organizations that need assistance.
More than 1,000 employees from 17 companies volunteered their time during the 2012 Day of Caring. Volunteers completed 54 projects for 38 agencies.
United Way has set a fundraising goal of $12.5 million for 2013. Last year, the organization invested more than $10 million in its partner agencies and core internal programs. United Way’s core internal programs – such as 2-1-1, Volunteer Center, Kent County Tax Credit Coalition and Schools of Hope – help connect residents to basic needs, bring tax dollars back to the community, help children succeed in school, link volunteers with opportunities and develop young professionals as leaders.
The organization also partners with 60+ agencies that support its work to ensure Kent County residents receive a quality education that leads to a stable job, achieve financial stability and have access to quality health care. Last year, these organizations served more than 114,000 individuals.
A list of partner agencies can be found at HWMUW.org/agencypartnerlist
About Heart of West Michigan United Way
Heart of West Michigan United Way supports, promotes and advocates for Kent County by working to achieve shared community goals in education, income and health. As a philanthropic leader and partner with strong West Michigan connections, we collaborate with businesses, other nonprofits and individuals to leverage gifts of time and money that benefit our community. For more information, visit hwmuw.org.