Residents, players lend a hand during Centre County Day of Caring

Penn State quarterback Shane McGregor and a handful of his teammates were doing a different kind of work Thursday.

As part of the 19th annual Centre County Day of Caring, the football players joined more than 1,500 other volunteers to work on more than 115 service projects throughout the county. The event is sponsored by the Centre County United Way and PNC Bank.

“It’s great because the community does so much for us,” McGregor said while transporting a wheelbarrow full of mulch at Centre Furnace Mansion. “It’s fun to do something other than football.”

The mansion’s executive director, Mary Sorensen, said the work done by the roughly 150 volunteers keeps the mansion going throughout the rest of the year. The work that needs to be done is planned in the months before the day so the staff is ready when the volunteers arrive.

There isn’t a lull in the work throughout the day,” she said.

“It’s so important to us,” she said. “We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without it.”

Sorensen said the Day of Caring also adds an element of exposure for the mansion, and many Penn State students and town residents come back just to visit.

And that may be the case for Navy ROTC member and volunteer Matty Golub.

He said he was happy to help Thursday and added that it would be a good place to take his parents if they come to State College for a visit.

“It’s great,” he said of the work. “Honestly, I just really like the community involvement.”

Centre County United Way Communications Director Megan Evans said she went to more than 10 sites to admire the work being done.

She described the event as “huge” and still growing, adding that they are always looking to move into more rural areas to make sure the whole county is represented.

“We want to be out in Penns Valley and Bald Eagle and Philipsburg,” Evans said. “It is the Centre County Day of Caring, and we want the whole county to be involved.”

There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the program. Event coordinator Kim Hacker said people have even been asking for the day to be held twice a year, but there are no plans in the works for that.

“The plan is to continue having it every year, Evans said. “We’ll just keep doing it.”