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Heartwarming actions: United Way volunteers make a difference for area nonprofits

“Heartwarming” actions on a cold morning helped keep many local United Way volunteers cozy as they worked to make a difference for several area non-profit agencies on Wednesday.

Originally scheduled for Sept. 26, rainy weather forced the annual Heart of Kentucky United Way Day of Action to be rescheduled for Oct. 24.

Stephanie Blevins, director of the HKUW, said she expected to lose a couple of projects and a few volunteers because of the schedule change, but was very happy with the outcome of Wednesday’s Day of Action.

She said about 320 volunteers from Boyle, Lincoln, Garrard and Mercer counties worked at 48 sites.

Photo by Robin Hart/ robin.hart@amnews.com
Connie McCammon cleans a window inside of Blue Bird Market’s new area where a large selection of Christmas merchandise will be for sale beginning in November. McCammon was part of a group of volunteers to work at the market as part of the annual Heart of Kentucky’s Day of Action on Wednesday.

The date change worked in favor for Blue Bird Market, said Beth Marlowe, who runs the store. The market sells donated furniture, accessories and home goods to help support Wilderness Trace Child Development Center which provides therapeutic and educational services to young children. The market is located in part of the old ATR building and is only open for shopping on Saturdays.

Marlowe said the day before volunteers were scheduled to arrive to help spruce up the market, she found out the owner of the building was giving her the use of another large area to sell Christmas items — including some he had just purchased from Macy’s and donated.

So in addition to volunteers doing routine cleaning and rearranging in the market, she had a number of them make the new area ready for holiday shoppers. Floors were mopped, windows polished and Christmas trees were set up with lights and decorations.

She said with the regular part-time staff, it would have been very difficult to get the wide-open space ready and set up with all the merchandise in time for holiday shopping.

And now, “We’re going to have a winter wonderland!” Marlowe said.

Other projects throughout Danville and Boyle County included grounds cleanup at the Doram-Sledd House for Boyle Landmark Trust; Family Services Association files were purged and organized; iMOMS were helped with sorting and packing Journey Bags for foster children; the gardens at Hogsett Elementary School and McDowell House were cleaned up; donated clothing was organized at the Family Resource Center at Toliver Intermediate School; filing was completed at Toliver’s Cradle School; the clothing storage area was cleaned out and organized at the Beacon Youth Services Center; native trees were planted along Clark’s Run; and the health department staff was assisted at the flu clinic.

Blevins said many of the agencies look forward to the Day of Action because physical things can be accomplished “and they can see great work being done.”

Sometimes the “smallest things makes the biggest difference. It’s fulfilling to give back. You know you’re making a difference,” Blevins said.

Not only did volunteers from businesses and industries participate, but also high school students from Danville, Boyle and Lincoln counties helped to make a difference in their communities, Blevins said.

“They have so much energy and can get a lot of work done,” she said. It’s also good for them to see that giving back to their community is important, she said.

Blevins said watching people cross county lines from where they live and work to help with needed projects “solidifies that this is a true community.”