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United Way welcomes applications for Sept. 17 Day of Caring

Nonprofits are known for giving back to the community while accepting little in return, but for the Day of Caring, the community has a chance to give back to them.

Every year, Northwest Alabama United Way hosts Day of Caring, when community members volunteer for the day to complete projects nonprofits submit. The submission period for projects for Day of Caring is open until Aug. 2 to any 501c3 organization. Organizations do not have to be a current partner of United way to apply.

“We have so many non-profit agencies in our community, and they do so much,” said United Way community impact and communications director Kerry Del Pizzo. “Most of them aren’t getting compensated very highly because they care so much about what they do, and they care so much for the community, and having volunteers come take time out of their day and help them really means a lot to the non-profit organizations.”

Del Pizzo said most projects are approved as long as they are daytime jobs the average individual can do.

The number of projects for Day of Caring depends on the number of volunteers. Del Pizzo said she begins working to assign volunteers to each project as soon as the proposal is approved.

In 2018 Del Pizzo said 16 projects were submitted, and 13 were covered. More than 400 people attended the kickoff event, and 85 people volunteered.

Once projects are approved, they will be posted to Facebook so volunteers can decide what project they want to volunteer for. Volunteers will be told ahead of time which project they are assigned to so they can coordinate project scheduling.

All volunteers must register by Sept. 1 so projects can be coordinated. Anyone is allowed to volunteer, but children younger than 15 must have a parent with them.

Del Pizzo said Day of Caring is always well-received by the organizations, and some organizations re-apply for projects every year. She said she is not aware of any organizations located in Franklin County that ask for assistance on Day of Caring, but several organizations participate from north Alabama that serve Franklin County, such as Safe Place.

Safeplace executive director Rachel Hackworth said Safeplace has participated in Day of Caring every year that she knows of. Volunteers help the organizations with projects such as painting, participating in supply drives or organizing.

Hackworth said most of the projects volunteers complete for Day of Caring are those that Safeplace normally could not take on for lack of funding.

“It’s just been a wonderful way to get the community involved with some great hands-on projects,” Hackworth said.