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Local volunteerism shines through, year after year- 570 volunteers were on hand at 34 area nonprofits with 68 projects

Written by Bruce Lindner. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on September 03, 2019 with No Comments

Live United blue shirts were in the spotlight around the region as volunteerism took center stage at this year’s United Way Day of Caring.

According to the United Way, 570 volunteers were on hand at 34 area nonprofits with 68 projects. These included everything from landscaping and painting to hosting luncheons and collection drives.

“We are so grateful to our volunteers for jumping in to help out,” said Kim Olesker, president and CEO of United Way of Porter County, in a release. “Hands-on teamwork activities like these really show you how amazing our community is at banding together to meet the needs of others.”

Volunteers were treated to a free breakfast in both Valparaiso and Portage to spur a day of hard work and creating connections.

While we have had a mix of projects on the Day of Caring at PCACS, we have consistently been the recipient of hard work, dedication and hours of service from the Task Force Tips team. They have the skills that we need for our ramp program and for about eight years, they have utilized those to help a community member who needs assistance moving in and out of the home.

This year, the team was able to revamp an old ramp that was in need of updates. This was not a ramp that had been worked on by the team in the past.

“We’re re-decking and making the transition from the house easier as they had to pick up the wheelchair,” said Kim Hale of the Task Force Tips team. “We also put wider stairs down the front.”

Hale said the crew has had good luck with the weather and that she has no problem finding volunteers.

“We have good luck getting the crew together. I send a note to the entire plant and the team is filled in one day.”

Looking back to a tough ramp project a couple years ago, Kim emphasizes how now is the time to make an impact.

“You give back while you can. We joked two years ago that it was such a big job and we said, “Boy, we’re beat after this,” she said. “You give back while you can.”

The TFT team this year included not only Hale, but also Will Foy, Mike Hammonds, Mike Hartman, Matt LaMotte, Rob Cole and Bill Wilfinger.

Many of the team members are back every year and we are very honored that they help with our ramp program.

Lunch time

Over at PCACS, board member Barb Kubiszak’s St. Agnes Adult Day Service Center volunteers prepared and served up a summer feast for guests during the Day of Caring.

A team from Texas Corral in Portage took three trips to bring in all of the food that they had ready for everyone to eat. Many items were homemade and a team member’s mom even baked cakes for the day as a way to participate.

Team member Paul Reed said he was first exposed to the Day of Caring as an AmeriCorps member out of LaPorte.

“Two years ago, our team was out at Hilltop House painting the playground,” Reed said. “It gives us a chance to get out of the restaurant and out into the community.”

Team member Jeremy Brown added that the smiles on everyone’s faces as they walked in are also behind why they participate in the annual volunteering event.

We want to say a big thank you to all of those who donned “Live United” shirts this year and led by example of how we can be a welcoming and wonderful place to live.

 

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About Bruce Lindner

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle.  Bruce Lindner has worked in the not-for-profit world for more than 25 years and has been executive director of Porter County Aging and Community Services for five. A native of the Region, he was raised in Portage and he graduated from Valparaiso University. You can call him at 219-464-9736 or e-mail at bhlindner@frontier.com.

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