The United Way of East Mississippi's annual Day of Caring brought scores of employees to non-profit agencies across Lauderdale County Friday, to lend a helping hand.
The United Way made sure volunteers got off to a good start, with a big breakfast and praise for giving their time. They were then sent out to paint, repair ceilings, and even organize.
Citizens National Bank employees helped Hope Village Thrift Store get ready for the Christmas season shoppers.
"We try to set it up and have their trees just as pretty as they were if they were to purchase them from a big store," said Kym Parnell, Citizens National Bank's Pacesetter chairperson. "They come here, marked down prices. And we're just getting ready for the season, prayerfully being able to bless somebody that they'll be able to come in and get something."
Volunteers from Rush Hospital set to work painting at The Wesley House.
"You know, this is a way that us at the hospital can give back by coming out and helping them keep their budget down by doing some of their labor and making their place look prettier and cleaner," said Keith McCary. "So that the kids and people that come over here for help will have a nice clean place and come over here and get the help they need."
The United Way's executive director, Thad Quarles, says Day of Caring matches the giving spirit of its Pacesetters with their volunteer spirit.
"As a donor, it connects them with what their investment is in the community," said Quarles. "So they get to see first-hand what the agencies do. And it's really a great way to learn about what the non-profit community has to offer here in east Mississippi."
About seventy-five people volunteered for Day of Caring.
"I,too, may one day be in the need. Have to use something from United Way," Parnell said. "So I want to be able to help and give back to our community."
"If we leave it up to big business to do everything for us, sometime they get out there and they get things started and kind of motivate others," said McCary. "So hopefully other businesses, even the small mom and pop stores will jump in there and say what can I do to help? Because when everybody comes together we can make a difference."
McCary said his relationship with Wesley House started when he was a police officer and saw what it does for children who are victims of crime.
Pacesetter volunteers spent time helping at:
Community of Hope Tutoring & Alliance Health Center
Shampoo carpets & clean up grounds
Boys and Girls Club & Avery Dennison
Stain doors, put up ceiling tiles, various chores
Love's Kitchen & Bank Plus
Build storage room
Hope Village & Citizens National Bank
Prep Thrift Store for Christmas
Girl Scouts & City of Meridian
Clean up camp Meridale
Friendship Center & Great Southern National Bank
Serve lunch to clients
South Harbor Shelter & J C Penney Company
Clean out pantry
Care Lodge & Mississippi Power Company
Pressure wash & clean up grounds
Red Cross & Regions Bank
Help organize inside
Boy Scouts & Riley Hospital
Prep camp for "Spookoree"
Wesley House & Rush Health Systems
Painting and cleaning up grounds
Salvation Army & City of Meridian