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  • Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

United Way of NEA sees large turnout for annual Day of Caring

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, Ark- Over 200 volunteers from businesses and organizations across the region joined forces on Friday by giving back to local nonprofits like the Salvation Army for United Way’s annual Day of Caring.

“We are so proud and excited to say we have two hundred and fifty volunteers this year, representing thirty-four businesses in northeast Arkansas. And honestly, we could take more, but we’re so excited about that number. Especially in the year during a pandemic,” says Audrey Guinn, Day of Caring 2021 chair.

Following a short program, volunteers reported to their service project location, with 39 local nonprofits receiving help today ranging from painting to yard work, construction, and more.

This is the 28th year United Way has hosted the volunteer event. Guinn says they have new features to go along with Day of Caring.

“We had virtual options. So, within the volunteer number, we had some teams that donated supplies or gathered supplies the last couple of weeks. So, today they’re going to bringing that supplies and dropping it off, and then our nonprofits will come [to] pick it up,” she said.

One participating nonprofit is the Salvation Army. With groups working both inside and outside of the facilities. The director of the Jonesboro branch, Captain Smith, says he’s grateful for the support.

“We’re very thankful for the help that came out today and those who really want to make a difference in our city. It’s gonna make the facility look a lot better and may gain some new attention and attraction as people come in and notice the change. And it’s not just here at our building. Our disaster truck is actually at Central Baptist Church and, they’re filling it with canned food items,” Captain Smith said.

One volunteer notices the effect giving back can have. He finished the day with a greater understanding of his service project's impact on the community.

“This city can grow, and anytime I can take part to help it grow or expand, I would love to jump in. I knew we had a Salvation Army, but I’ve never actually been here before. So, just seeing how they’re set up and seeing what all they do,” said Craig Burns.

Day of Caring serves as the official kickoff for the United Way of Northeast Arkansas campaign that raises funds for 20 nonprofits in the region. Some of whom received help on Friday.


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