United Way Kicks Off Fundraising Campaign With Day Of Caring
SCRANTON — With each stroke of paint, old blue walls turned tan at Meals on Wheels of NEPA as United Way volunteers brightened up a hallway in the organization’s new center.
The renovations at 541 Wyoming Ave. wouldn’t have been possible without the United Way’s Day of Caring, said Kristen L. Kosin, executive director.
The 24th Annual Nancy Jackson Memorial Day of Caring event Thursday, which sent volunteers from 35 companies to help with 43 projects across Lackawanna and Wayne counties, kicked off the 2018-19 United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties fundraising campaign. Officials hope to raise $3.25 million this year, just above last year’s $3.2 million goal.
Among the projects worked on Thursday, volunteers:
n constructed a handicap-accessible ramp at the Arc of Northeastern Pennsylvania in Newton Twp.
n painted a mural in the outdoor play area at the Day Nursery Association
n reorganized the Angel’s Attic food and clothing pantry at United Neighborhood Centers Community Services Building and Progressive Center.
Meals on Wheels has owned the building at Wyoming Avenue building since 1984. Last year, they started renovating to create the Space at Olive, which will be open to local organizations to host events at a low cost. Proceeds from the future events will also support Meals on Wheels.
Last year, Day of Caring volunteers tore down walls. On Thursday, they painted them.
“The demolition spurred everything in motion last year,” said Kosin. “Without the Day of Caring, we wouldn’t be able to do it.”
Engineers from Quadrant EPP assembled shelves while Lisa Franko and Sarah Petrunick from TMG Health, a Cognizant Company, spruced up outside.
They pulled weeds from cracks in the sidewalks and removed bothersome plant life growing alongside the building.
“You know you’re making a difference,” said Petrunick, who has volunteered for the past four years.
“It’s important to give back,” added Franko.
Franko said they receive a tremendous amount of gratitude from the groups they assist.
Over the past 24 years, Day of Caring volunteers have donated $3 million in services to local agencies and organizations in the region, said Gary Drapek, United Way President and CEO.
Drapek said events like Day of Caring often run their course but the United Way initiative is growing every year and up to the day of the event people are asking to volunteer.
Getting inside the area agencies also opens the eyes of many of the local volunteers, said Nikki Keller, vice president of community impact marketing for the United Way.
“It has a huge impact,” she said.
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The 2018-19 United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties’ campaign formally kicked off Thursday night at Cooper’s Seafood House in Scranton. Alex Fried of Procter and Gamble, who also volunteered during the Day of Caring, is chairman of this year’s campaign. This year’s goal is to raise $3.25 million.
For more details, visit www.uwlc.net.