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Day of Caring enters 14th year of volunteer work

June 14, 2018

DeKALB – Marianne Anderson of DeKalb has been volunteering at the Kishwaukee United Way’s Day of Caring for three years and said unless you get out and see what’s offered in the community, you might be missing out on some great things.

″[Day of Caring] makes you more aware and may make you do things a little differently after seeing what’s going on in the community,” Anderson said.

Anderson joined about 100 other volunteers on Thursday for the 14th annual volunteering event.

Participants then traveled to their pre-registered assignments in Sycamore, wearing Day of Caring shirts left over from years past. Volunteers came from Target, Manpower, Siepert and Co., Sonoco, rotary clubs, youth groups and other organizations.

Projects ran from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and included organizing the Hope Haven homeless shelter’s pantry and linens, painting picnic benches at the DeKalb County History Center, spending time with residents of the Oak Crest Retirement Center, and placing door hangers about the county’s 211 assistance line and summer food programs.

Eli Vasilopoulos, treasurer and former caretaker of Gurler House, which had eight to 10 volunteers performing yard work, said the historic home has become dependent on the Day of Caring as a resource to complete tasks like spreading mulch, keeping up with weeds and prepping garden beds for planting.

“Without volunteer groups like this we would not even begin to keep up with the yard,” Vasilopoulos said. “They can do in two and a half to three hours this morning what would take us all summer.”

Dawn Littlefield, executive director of the Kishwaukee United Way, said there were also “take-home” projects, such as decorating bags for the Meals on Wheels program, for volunteers unable to participate in the morning or afternoon activities.

“There are always a lot of ideas,” Littlefield said. “You can’t always pull them all together.”

Those still wishing to give back can also take part in a blood drive from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. June 27 hosted by the Kishwaukee United Way, Kishwaukee Family YMCA and Heartland Blood Centers. During the drive, the Heartland Mobile Coach will be parked outside the YMCA, 2500 W. Bethany Road.

To make an appointment to donate, sign up online at www.heartlandbc.org or call 800-786-4483.

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