United Way for Cortland County to hold 24th annual Day of Caring

(Photo provided by United Way for Cortland County Facebook page).

Tomorrow, Wednesday September 25th the United Way for Cortland County will hold the 24th Annual Day of Caring and Wendy Thibeault Memorial Food Drive.

“The Day of Caring kicks off the 2020 Campaign and is an example of how well this community comes together to help each other and make Cortland a better place,” said Christella Yonta, Executive Director of the United Way for Cortland County.

Teams from United Way, Intertek Testing, JM Murray Center, Bailey Place Insurance, Breakfast Rotary, Citizens Bank and Molina Healthcare will lend a hand with Playground projects. Wednesday morning will begin in the Village of Homer where the volunteers will help assemble and set-up the newly purchased playground equipment at Newton Park. Playground equipment at Yaman Park in the City of Cortland will get some fresh paint in the afternoon. Over 40 McGraw High school students will also be working on projects in the Village.

Volunteers will also be out on the 25th picking up the food collection boxes that have been available in businesses and organizations through the month of September. The food drive helps stock food pantries throughout the county. “Mrs. Holl’s third grade class from Smith School will help community volunteers sort the food at Beaudry Park, and kids at Appleby Elementary in Marathon have been collecting pennies to help out.” Yonta added, “United Way is uniquely positioned to unite the resources of our community and to see the volunteers of all ages give back on one day is truly an inspiring event.” Community members are welcome to drop food off at the park between 10:00 am and Noon to help with the cause. Event sponsor Molina Healthcare will provide work T-shirts for project volunteers and Bob’s BBQ of Homer will feed the volunteers for the lunch break with all proceeds going to fund emergency assistance food programs.

The United Way understands the community’s toughest challenges and works to bring people together to solve the issues.  Campaign funds are allocated to local programs that address a priority need and demonstrate outcomes with the funding. Last year United Way funded 14 local programs supporting food, childcare, victim services and educational initiatives to name a few.

Kate Pitcher and Jenna Gregory are this year’s campaign chairs. Kate is a special education teacher with Homer Schools and Jenna is a Realtor with Heritage Realty of CNY.  Kate became interested in volunteering when she learned about the impact United Way programs have with her students and families.  Jenna has been helping with the Day of Caring since she volunteered as a student at Cortland High School and wanted get more involved and help with the impact of United Way funded programs. “Everyone can benefit from the programs the campaign supports,” Kate stated, “I’m excited to be a part of something that helps build a strong community,” Jenna added.

Donors are often first introduced to the United Way through workplace giving programs. “We have 20 campaign volunteers reaching out to businesses that participate in workplace campaigns, and this year we are introducing a Small Business 365 Circle that enables a business to make a difference for just a dollar a day,” said Jarrod Kolodziejczyk, Board President.  Kolodziejczyk is Director of Volunteers and Courtesy Services for Guthrie Cortland Medical. “The team effort of all the volunteers for the Day of Caring and the Campaign is appreciated and it’s a worthwhile investment to be a part of this organization."