Harford County residents Thursday joined hundreds of others at 40 locations all over central Maryland, who rolled up their sleeves, got their hands dirty and helped their neighbors during United Way of Central Maryland’s fifth annual Day of Action.
The volunteer work was targeted in central Maryland neighborhoods where residents could use a hot meal, and where shelters and schools need a little extra tender loving care, according to a United Way news release.
Volunteer teams from businesses, government, other organizations as well as individuals all gave a few hours to make a real difference in their communities, the organization said.
Seven locations in Harford – in Aberdeen, Abingdon, Bel Air, Edgewood and Street – were part of the Day of Action.
In Aberdeen, 25 volunteers from T. Rowe Price, Towson University and University of Maryland joined others from from Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna and AmeriCorps to spruce up a Habitat for Humanity house on Giles Lane that is being readied for a lower income family to move in.
Their work included spackling drywall inside and some brush clearing and minor grading around the foundation outside.
“I believe everyone should be able to have affordable housing and it's a lot of fun to help people out. I get a good workout and I get to help my community at the same time,” Elaine Rease from the T. Rowe Price group said. "It kinda gives me the warm fuzzies."
Bob Cave, a volunteer from Towson University, said it was good to be able to help out.
"I've done work with Habitat for Humanity in the past and found it really rewarding and I've got a lot of do-it-yourself experience with building techniques and such and thought that I had something to offer,” Cave said. “It feels good to contribute."
“Our goals are to build housing, education, employment and health opportunities and this is one of our outreach efforts to get more people in the community involved in making a difference," Scott Gottbreht, of United Way, who worked with the volunteers, said.
Volunteers also worked at the Restoration Farm in Street with clients of The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region, who learned basic gardening and weeding skills; at the Walter and Betty Ward YMCA in Abingdon, where they painted and stained the pavilion and picnic tables; and at the Harford Community Action Agency headquarters in Edgewood, where they sorted donations, inventoried goods and packed boxes for clients of the agency’s food pantry.
Other Day of Action sites in Harford were Anna’s House in Bel Air — outdoor sprucing up and gardening; SARC in Bel Air — preparation of bags that will be given to race participants for the 5th annual Holly’s Hope Run; and Harford Family House in Aberdeen — cleaning and setting up open apartments, cleaning flower beds and exterior painting.
“United Way’s Day of Action is all about being the change you want to see in your community,” Franklyn Baker, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland, said. “Together, we can achieve so much more than we can alone. Friends and colleagues working side by side to improve lives and neighborhoods is central to our work at United Way, which would not be possible without the dedication and time our volunteers selflessly provide.”
In addition to Harford County, Day of Action projects took place in other areas that United Way of Central Maryland serves in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll and Howard counties and Baltimore City.
For more information on the projects local volunteers participated in, visit http://www.uwcm.org/main/volunteer/day-action/.