VERO BEACH – More than 1,000 volunteers came out to make a difference on Oct. 14 for United Way’s Day of Caring. Sixty projects were undertaken at sites all over Indian River County. Approximately 400 people enjoyed breakfast and a brief program at the Vero Beach Freshman Learning Center before the work began.
United Way CEO Michael Kint welcomed the crowd of men, women, and children, virtually all wearing LIVE UNITED Day of Caring T-shirts. “I’m blown away by this demonstration of our caring community!”
Bill Penney, Kim Prado, Mary Cone, and Georgia Irish along with the Marine Bank and Trust mascot, Mariner Pete, officially opened the United Way’s annual fundraising campaign stating the goal this year is $3,040,000. “It’s a big number, but we’re confident that with the help of generous people throughout this county, we’ll make it!” said Penney.
“Today we are kicking off our campaign with an amazing show of volunteerism”, said Prado. “Campaign volunteers have been working through the summer and fall planning a fundraising campaign, sponsoring the cost of that campaign, leading the way with significant contributions, and loaning out employees to visit workplaces and spread the word about the work of United Way in Indian River County,” Cone explained. “You can all help and give through your workplace campaign, by mail, or online at www.unitedwayirc.org,” Irish added.
Every elementary school in the district hosted a volunteer project engaging school staff and families while teams of secondary school students met to assemble 1,000 care kits for the homeless of Indian River County. “School Superintendent Dr. Rendell, and School Board member Tiffany Justice led the way for significant school district participation this year,” explained Kint. “They are wonderful community partners.”
Volunteers left the breakfast and moved on to work at schools, churches, and nonprofits all over Indian River County painting, landscaping, cleaning and more. Some built this county’s 3rd Born Learning Trail, an interactive public engagement tool promoting early learning at area parks; some replaced mailboxes and house numbers that had worn down, prohibiting mail delivery and public services. Over 60 projects were completed in Sebastian, Wabasso, Gifford, Fellsmere, and Vero Beach.
“We want to thank everyone who helped make this day so successful”, said Katie Kirk, United Way board member and Day of Caring chair. “Publix was our major sponsor but thanks also goes to Joe and Mary Ann Conrado’s McDonalds’, Natalie’s Juice Company, CVS Pharmacy, Bug Soother and the Indian River County Freshman Learning Center. We also had support from nonprofit agencies and all kinds of volunteers taking the lead on aspects of this huge undertaking.”
“Coordinating an event with this many moving parts is a real challenge,” explained Kint, “but there’s a lot of satisfaction knowing this community will step up for the needs of others the way they have. Seeing 1,000 people giving their time to benefit others was an awesome way to begin our annual campaign!”
See photos shared by volunteers and nonprofits on social media sites, search #dayofcaringirc.
United Way of Indian River County fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our community. Go to www.VolunteeIndianRiverCounty.org to learn about local opportunities for service. For more information about United Way or to give online, visit www.UnitedWayIRC.org.