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Centre recognizes ‘Day of Caring’

BELLEFONTE — The United Way’s Day of Caring is right around the corner. With that in mind, the Centre County Board of Commissioners proclaimed Oct. 7, 2021 as a Day of Caring in Centre County.

It was Proclamation No. 30 of 2021.

The annual event is extremely popular in the county. This year, the event is expected to be bigger than ever before following its hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of course, last year, we were unable to have the Day of Caring, so we’re really excited to be back this year,” said Leanne Lenz, executive director of the Centre County United Way. “We have over 60 projects requested from nonprofits all around the county.”

This year, more than 350 volunteers from across the county will join forces at more than 60 sites to help nonprofit organizations complete projects.

According to Lenz, the Day of Caring reaches all corners of the county.

“We did do some extra outreach this year to make sure that we hit some of those areas around the county that aren’t really represented often,” Lenz said.

There are a plethora of projects taking place at various non-profits — everything from weeding and mulching to putting a new roof on a building.

“A lot of non-profits — I know this from experience — put all of their energy, their resources … into serving clients and the community in the programs directly. Some of these projects that need to get done kind of get neglected, so we’re really thrilled to have the county pull together and provide that support,” Lenz said.

This is the 28th annual event, Lenz said. The United Way Day of Caring began more than 20 years ago when retired Marine Corps Col. Gerald Russell saw a similar event taking place in a community outside Centre County.

According to BOC chair Michael Pipe, the event says a lot about the Centre County community.

“It is a testament to the ability of our community to come together not just for one day, but to do the work and build relationships,” Pipe said.

Commissioner Mark Higgins talked about the significance of the Day of Caring.

“I know a lot of the charities look forward to the Day of Caring because they can get a lot of those things done that they want to finish … It’s wonderful that the Day of Caring is assisting 60 different groups,” Higgins said.

Commissioner Steve Dershem said: “The good Colonel would be proud.”

Over the past 27 years, the Centre County United Way has used 65,000 volunteers to complete more than 3,500 projects and saved non-profits more than $10 million.

“That’s incredible,” Pipe said.

Lenz said that the United Way is still actively looking for individuals or groups who want to help with the Day of Caring. To volunteer time, call (814) 238-8283.

“Technically, (Monday) was the last day, but if we see some more volunteers roll in, we’ll find some work for them,” Lenz said.

The Centre County commissioners will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 28. The meeting is open to the public and masks are required. The meeting will also be televised live by C-NET.

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