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Day of Caring gives back to nonprofits

Volunteers worked at the Columbus Chapel and Boal Mansion Museum for the United Way Day of Caring last year. Thursday marks the 23rd year of the event, with about 1,600 volunteers set to work on almost 100 projects.
Volunteers worked at the Columbus Chapel and Boal Mansion Museum for the United Way Day of Caring last year. Thursday marks the 23rd year of the event, with about 1,600 volunteers set to work on almost 100 projects. Centre Daily Times, file

Centre County has a lot going for it — a generous spirit for one thing.

Thursday marks the 23rd annual PNC Bank — Col. Gerald Russell Day of Caring. It’s a day when the community gives back to the nonprofits that help Centre County residents all throughout the year.

Sponsored by PNC Bank, the Centre County United Way event matches volunteers with organizations that need some extra hands to accomplish projects ranging from painting to landscaping.

By Wednesday, almost 1,600 volunteers were signed up to participate, said Beth Shaha, special events coordinator.

More volunteers are welcome, though.

People can still register on the day of the event by calling the United Way office at 238-8283, Shaha said.

Volunteers will be distributed among almost 100 projects.

Gray’s Woods Elementary School is among the project sites, as it has been for the past four years, State College Area School District spokesman Chris Rosenblum said.

It’s the only district school participating this year, and it has been “grandfathered in as a Day of Caring site because it originally received a grant for its garden with grant writing and fundraising assistance from the United Way,” Rosenblum said.

Volunteers at the school will help clean and winterize the school gardens and butterfly gardens, dig potatoes, pluck sunflowers and plant garlic, in addition to other activities.

Shaha said it’s a fun puzzle to match people’s skills and desires to help with different projects.

“There’s a lot of love all over Centre County,” she said.

One of the great things about the event is that there’s a lot of consistency with volunteers, Shaha said, adding that she doesn’t really have to do much recruiting.

In addition to PNC’s sponsorship, Lowe’s and Home Depot donate paint and other supplies — meaning that no money donated to the United Way campaign is used to cover the costs of Day of Caring, Shaha added.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619; @SarahRafacz

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