United Way Day of Caring helps nonprofits across SW MO

Jessi HawkinsVolunteer Spotlight

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Thursday is United Way Day of Caring, and more than 2,000 volunteers spread out across the community helping with a large variety of projects. You may have seen some of the volunteers wearing blue “Live United” shirts.

The United Way of the Ozarks is the main organizer of the day of caring, but they were also one of the organizations receiving a helping hand. Volunteers worked on some landscaping outside and painting inside.

There were projects happening all over the community Thursday.

Local businesses and organizations have sent out teams of their employees to spend a day giving back to nonprofit agencies here in Southwest Missouri. They included volunteers from KY3 and KSPR, who helped clean up Jordan Creek.

“These projects would not get done without these volunteers. So we have a lot of our agencies and nonprofits in the area; they save these projects up. It’s kind of like their wish list,” says Jill Finney, United Way of the Ozarks vice president of communications and volunteers.

This year, organizers moved the event from August to June, hoping for cooler weather. That didn’t quite work out, but they are making sure volunteers drink plenty of water, and Associated Wholesale Grocers donated ice cream bars.

Staff at Great Circle, which serves kids in the foster care system and much more, are one of many nonprofits grateful for the help. Volunteers did things like landscaping, painting, washing windows and vehicles and even a BBQ for the kids.

“We don’t have much time, and because we are a nonprofit agency, we really don’t have money beyond the cost to staff, to have high-quality staff, and we thrive on that. So any assistance we can get with our environment, we’re so grateful for,” said Mary Casada, Great Circle director of home and community based services.

There were more than 100 teams of volunteers working on 271 projects in Southwest Missouri today, making a big impact.