United Way volunteers show they care with day of work


As it has for the past 13 years, the United Way of Horry County kicked off its annual fundraising campaign Friday with a Day of Caring.

It's not just about asking people for money. The Day of Caring is about volunteers rolling up their sleeves and getting to work.

The day began with a breakfast to get 200 United Way volunteers fired up and ready to go. Then, they hit the streets and started working.

Among their tasks this year was a mass food distribution at the Church of the Resurrection in Surfside Beach. They handed out enough food to help 200 families.

"I've had so many people come and say thank you for the help, so they're very excited," said Shayla Livingston of the Lowcountry Food Bank , which helped coordinate the distribution.

Church leaders say the need is great, that many of those who came to get the food have no electricity in their homes or may be living in their cars.

"So there's an awful lot of families trying to make a go. So if we're going to initiate a Day of Caring, a mass food distribution, helping those in the most desperate need, is one of the greatest ways we can do this," said Larry Nowak, Resurrection church's committee chairman for food distribution.

Meanwhile, at the Help 4 Kids headquarters in Garden City, United Way volunteers did some remodeling work to help that non-profit group with its mission of providing food and school supplies to needy kids.

"We're painting, organizing, shelving the stuff, doing all that kind of stuff," said United Way volunteer Crystal McGhee.

At the end of the day, Help 4 Kids had a whole new room, dozens of new shelves and the volunteers for United Way had the sense of doing the right thing for a good cause.

"I love being able to walk away and say we actually did something, something to help the non profit, something, even if it's just painting or reorganizing. It's stuff that's hard for them to do with the limited amount of people they have," McGhee said.

A team from NewsChannel 15 took part in Friday's Day of Caring event. They volunteered at a carnival for members of the community with disabilities and special needs.

This year, instead of one big project, the day involved many smaller ones, with volunteers lifting paint brushes and boxes of food to show they really do care.