Day of Caring

Volunteers spread across South Mississippi for Day of Caring – Published in the Sun Herald

By PRISCILLA LOEBENBERG — Special to the Sun Herald

GULFPORT — About 80 volunteers turned out to work in at least seven locations across the Coast on Friday for United Way of South Mississippi’s twice-yearly Day of Caring.Tshirt-Spotlight-Black-Box-620x274

Participants painted, gardened, carpentered and cleaned throughout the day at area nonprofits such as several Boys & Girls Clubs, a YMCA, a Head Start and others.

Coast Electric employees coordinated with Day of Caring to create a company-wide volunteer day at various locations, said Damali Clark, who was spending the day organizing the children’s play room at the Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Nonviolence.

“One of our principles of being a cooperative is community service,” she said, “and we are really enjoying it as well.”

Clark was one of 10 volunteers working at the shelter. While her group worked in the room that doubled as children’s play and therapy, others were painting dormitory rooms on the Crisis Hall, which houses up to 36 women and children.

The center’s Lisa Wilbourn said the freshening-up would be greatly appreciated by those living in the shelter as well as the hundreds of others served by domestic violence programs.

Meanwhile, Hard Rock Casino employees were lending a hand at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, building picnic tables and working on the large deck near the entrance.

“It’s self-rewarding,” said Maria Johnson who was power-washing the deck. “We look forward to it every year.”

The United Way of South Mississippi is focusing many resources on this year’s initiative for early-childhood education, said Juliane Molesworth, assistant director of the volunteer center.

All of the locations selected provide critical services to children. Day of Caring is scheduled each spring during National Volunteer Week, then again in late fall.

“It is a wonderful way to get people engaged in the needs of our community,” Molesworth said. “Volunteers are such an important resource in South Mississippi, and hopefully the Day of Caring can encourage participants to get involved throughout the year.”