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20th Annual Day of Caring Brings Relief to Non-Profits, Needy

The United Way of the Ozarks celebrated its 20th Day of Caring Thursday. Over 1600 volunteers took part in the event, completing 220 projects in Springfield and surrounding towns. KSMU’s Melanie Foehrweiser reports.

(Sound: Painting)

That’s the sound of fresh, neutral-colored paint gracing the walls at Boys and Girls Town. Volunteers from Empire Bank are hard at work giving the interior of the Ozarks Family Resource Center here a new look. Michael Montana is one of the 14 volunteers on this project, but this is far from how he usually spends his days.

“On a typical day I would be running the loan operations department for Empire Bank,” says Montana.

In fact, Montana is the Loan Operations Manager for Empire. But he doesn’t mind the break from his usual work, and says that getting to volunteer like this is fun.

“The most rewarding part is giving back to the community. At Empire Bank we’re big into community involvement,” says Montana.

This is the fourth year Montana has taken part.

Boys and Girls Town helps vulnerable children who are dealing with abuse, neglect, different disorders and psychological problems.

Erica Bauer is the Community Relations Manager for Chase Card Services, one of the sponsors of the Day of Caring. She says this is what her company is all about.

“We’re always out doing something, trying to find a way to help and give back to our area.”

Bauer and the other Chase volunteers spent their day repainting the fence along the outside of Boys and Girls Town. They even got the drivers on the nearby road to join in on their enthusiasm.

(Sound: Honking and Cheering)

Bauer and Montana represent just two of the nine projects at the Boys and Girls Town. Emergency Shelter Manager Holly Hunt says she's grateful to have so many volunteers.

“It’s amazing to me that people in the area take the time out of their day to come here and help out the kids. They paint, they clean up whatever we need them to do they’re always willing to out any way that we need to serve the kids that we do in our facility,” says Hunt.

While the projects may be different, the goal of the Day of Caring is to do just that: show someone that you care. Again, volunteer Erica Bauer:

“[My] favorite part of today is just thinking about the people that we’re helping, the kids that live in this facility, and know that what we’re doing today is going to make the place that they live a more beautiful place.”

And manager Holly Hunt gets to see the kids’ reactions first hand.

“I think the best part is seeing the kids’ eyes when they walk in some place and they can see it changed. They see it fresh, they see the trees trimmed, they see their bedrooms painted…they see it being cleaned up. The best part I think is seeing people from the community that care enough to come out and help them do that,” says Hunt.

A total of 200 Day of Caring volunteers spent their day at Boys and Girls Town.

For KSMU News, I’m Melanie Foehrweiser.