Rene Dugan of Turbotville has participated in Lycoming County United Way's "Day of Caring" for more than a dozen years. She has enjoyed it so much that the last two years, she has taken on a leadership role as volunteer chairperson of the planning committee.
"Day of Caring is held one Saturday every autumn throughout Lycoming County. A group of about eight volunteers plus United Way staff coordinate hundreds of volunteer workers with many local non-profit organizations to perform work the non-profits do not normally have time or staff to handle themselves," Dugan said. "We help them with cleaning, painting, landscaping, light carpentry, things like that."
Volunteers are spread throughout the county according to Dugan.
Rene Dugan of Turbotville has participated in Lycoming County United Way’s “Day of Caring” for more than a dozen years. She has enjoyed it so much that the last two years, she has taken on a leadership role as volunteer chairperson of the planning committee.
"One of my fondest memories is working at the Girl Scout camp up in Hillsgrove with fellow employees and having to cross a foot bridge to get to the cabins we were assigned to paint. This was the first time any of us had ever crossed a foot bridge," Dugan explained. "It was quite an adventure and I am glad no one had a camera there!" she added as she laughed.
Many local businesses provide groups of employees to volunteer. Dugan has been employed at Liberty Mutual for 39 years and often brings many co-workers to Day of Caring.
"Businesses large and small have found that Day of Caring is not only a great way to give back to the community, but also a terrific opportunity for co-workers to work together outside of the office," added Chris Boschi, Human Resource Generalist at Kellogg's. Boschi serves on the Day of Caring planning committee with Dugan.
In addition to the benefits for the non-profit organizations and businesses that provide volunteers, individual volunteers are welcome as well. Dugan said even if her employer did not support the event, she would do so on her own because United Way is Dugan's charity of choice.
"I enjoy being able to help many human service programs at once through United Way," Dugan said. "I work full time and have a great family. I only have so many hours that I can commit to the community and by volunteering with United Way, I can help many organizations at once."
Dugan keeps busy working full time as a customer service specialist, in addition to spending time with her husband, daughter, two granddaughters, three step-daughters, and five step-grandchildren.
This year's Day of Caring plans are under way for Oct. 4. This is the 16th year United Way has hosted the unprecedented event in Lycoming County. Volunteers start the day at Little League Baseball for breakfast and door prizes donated by Kellogg's. Volunteers then head off to their assigned job sites, where staff members from the organization greet them, show them around, and provide any needed tools or supplies for the task at hand.
"It is a great way to learn more about the different human service agencies in Lycoming County," Dugan said. "I learn something new every year and I am always glad I had the opportunity because there are so many great non-profit organizations serving our county."
"Day of Caring takes months to plan and includes a lot of leg work and coordination because it encompasses hundreds of people. Then to see everyone together that morning, excited to help their neighbors - it is truly heart-warming," said Scott Lowery, United Way executive director. "We are lucky to have Rene's leadership and Kellogg's sponsorship to make Day of Caring possible."
For more information on Lycoming County United Way or to participate in Day of Caring, call 323-9448 by Friday.