ELIZABETHTOWN — The words that most jump out on the website for United Way’s annual Day of Caring are: “Change starts with you. Take action today to make a difference in your community.”
In Bladen County, that statement was readily defined with the sea of neon green — the color of T-shirts worn this year — representing dozens of volunteers who converged on the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market for the fifth annual Day of Caring event on Friday.
“It really excites me to know we have so many people who care and want to help those in need here,” said Barbara Knight, an organizer of the event.
More than 100 volunteers participated in the day-long activity. Those volunteers came from Bladen Community College, Elizabethtown Fire Department, Elizabethtown Christian Academy, area churches, Bladen Baptist Association and more.
“This is an opportunity to show the community we’re concerned and want to improve things here,” said Ann Garrett of N.C. Works Career Center and treasurer of Bladen County United Way. “This is what United Way is all about, and getting so many people involved is very rewarding for us.”
In the morning Friday, volunteers packed 158 food for backpacks that were given to students at Tar Heel Middle, Plain View Primary, Dublin Primary, Booker T. Washington Primary and Elizabethtown Middle schools for the weekend. They also put together gift bags to be distributed to residents of local nursing homes.
Later in the morning, a team of fifth-graders from ECA visited a local nursing home to sing and interact with residents and a group from BBA constructed five residential wheelchair ramps.
“I know the children really enjoy doing this,” said Jane Clark, music teacher at ECA who is involved in her third straight Day of Caring. “And the older adults in the nursing homes really love it, too. There’s always a nice connection.”
For Knight, the satisfaction most associated with the annual Day of Caring is simple.
“People helping people,” she said. “It’s something we all should be doing, and I think we are making a difference here.”
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.