More than 1,000 volunteers aided several nonprofit organizations throughout the Springfield area during United Way of the Ozarks Day of Caring on June 23.
Locations ranged throughout the area, with more than 105 events happening in and out of the heat. Two of the largest attended were the Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland camp and Discovery Center. Each location had more than 100 volunteers available.
This was the 30th year of Day of Caring here.
At the Girl Scouts camp, 2740 Finbrooke Rd. in Rogersville, projects included firewood chopping, cleaning of cabins and tent washing.
Lauren Slamb, public relations specialist for the camp, said it was “amazing” what the volunteers were doing. Slamb said due to the increased number of Scouts this summer, tents were needed to house them. Volunteers helped power wash these for later use.
Groups of volunteers came from The Whitlock Company and Ollis/Akers/Arney Insurance & Business Advisors.
Paul Long, an agent with Ollis/Akers/Arney, was glad to lead his team in cleaning the troop house. Long said his main goal was to refurbish the camp.
“What I’ve seen in the modern day is volunteerism is down,” Long said. “Nobody wants to do anything for free. What we are doing here is just trying to help out. There’s plenty here to do.”
Greg Burris, president and CEO of United Way of the Ozarks, oversaw eight of the projects, including at the Discovery Center, 438 E St. Louis St. Burris estimates that more than $100,000 worth of service happened through the projects.
Volunteers at the Discovery Center were working both inside and outside. Projects included landscaping, aid for summer programs and repairing or removing old or broken items.
Rob Blevins, executive director of the Discovery Center, said he was thankful for everything.
“These are things that we normally wouldn’t get done,” he said. “Our mission is helping kids, not landscaping. There’s also lots of paint being slung around here.”
Volunteers for the Discovery Center included Arvest and Chase Banks.
Arvest volunteer Rhonda Sorenson said it let her give back to the community as well as being fun. Yede Hubbard, another Arvest volunteer, agreed. Hubbard said she even came in during her vacation to help paint.
Officially, volunteers participated in a corporate work day. Volunteers support United Way by donating a portion of their paycheck.
United Way of the Ozarks is a nonprofit organization stretching over 14 counties. Its goal is to collaborate with smaller nonprofits and aid them in their mission.