Rantin: Volunteers step up for Day of Action

brantin@thestate.com (803) 771-8306September 21, 2013 

Corley Brigman long assumed he knew as much as the next person about the work taking place at St. Lawrence Place, Sistercare, Harvest Hope Food Bank and other Midlands service organizations.

But his perspective was broadened even more after he spent time volunteering during one of many days of service.

Friday was another such day as Brigman and several coworkers from Intel Corp.-Columbia Design Center joined hundreds more across the area for this year’s United Way Day of Action. An estimated 350-plus workers went into the community to serve at more than 35 sites.

The day’s activities included improving facilities for the area’s homeless, organizing food for the hungry or reading to children. In many cases, companies sent groups of volunteers, while other volunteers came out on their own.

The Intel workers spent most of the day painting at St. Lawrence Place, which offers transitional housing for families, while also reading to young residents and serving dinner.

“It’s one thing just to hear about them, but when you come out you see how big this is and how actively they are involved,” Brigman said. “It’s good to see how many people are being helped by this.”

Brenda Littleton of Intel said the Day of Service allows employees to see where their donations are going and gives them the chance to supplement those donations with their time.

“We’ve got a great relationship with St. Lawrence Place,” Littleton said. “They are doing things right.”

Elsewhere Friday, volunteers were painting the exterior of the gym at Carolina Children’s Home, packing and sorting food in the warehouse at Harvest Hope Food Bank and helping with tasks in the Children’s Room and other areas at Richland Library.

Other service sites Friday included the Boys & Girls Club, Keep the Midlands Beautiful, American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Palmetto Conservation Foundation, Mental Illness Recovery Center and others.

The United Way recently launched its 2013-14 financial campaign, but the agency has been placing a greater emphasis on volunteer involvement in recent years, believing more awareness of community needs will result in greater giving and service. The regular Day of Action is one way the agency seeks to do that.

“Not only are the volunteers getting to see where their dollars are going, but hopefully we are creating an opportunity for long-term engagement long after these volunteer projects are completed,” said United Way volunteer center coordinator Bridgett Tupper. “Many of the volunteers from Intel had never been to St. Lawrence Place before. So they got to see a direct beneficiary of the United Way’s dollars at work.”

For more information about the work of the United Way or to make a donation, visit www.uway.org.

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