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“In 1992, about 250 volunteers gathered to help spruce up what was then the YWCA campus on North Wells Street. That event has now grown into an opportunity for thousands of volunteers to come together to make Allen County a better place to live and work. Those who roll up our sleeves and raise our hands know this event as Day of Caring.

This year, even amidst a pandemic, over 650 volunteers safely and with social distancing, participated in 50 community service projects in Allen County. Day of Caring projects included various tasks such as cleaning, landscaping, painting, supply drives, and general maintenance. Projects took anywhere from four to eight hours to complete and teams ranged in size from four to 50 people. The completed work was done at non-profit agencies, schools, private residences recommended by NeighborLink, trails, and other community areas in need.”

The above description, taken from the United Way website, aptly provides an excellent summary of just what United Way Day of Caring is all about. I’d read about it in past years but this was my first time to be involved with this annual event.

In late June, I submitted a very aggressive wish list of needs for clean up around Waynedale, including our roadways and trails. The team at United Way reviewed all the projects submitted and I was elated when our project was among those chosen.

We were matched with a volunteer team from Lippert Components located at 2909 Pleasant Center Road. Locally they manufacture pontoon boat furniture, boat chairs and rotational molded products.

Sara Thornton who works in Human Resources at Lippert and is the Volunteer Lead states, “Our goal is to be a premier customer service-oriented leader in the manufacturing world of marine furnishings. We moved into our new plant two years ago and currently have 307 local team members and are looking to hire 40 more employees. LCI prides itself on giving back, our team continues to give back year after year with thousands of community volunteer hours.”

On Wednesday, August 19th LCI’s team of 17 volunteers all met in the Benchmark parking lot. (Our appreciation to Benchmark for allowing us to meet there!) We shared instructions with the group with safety being our number one priority. The plan was to split up and tackle Airport Expressway from both directions meeting in the middle. We would then look at tackling one of the other projects awaiting us as time permitted. Half the group went to Fairfield Avenue, the other half started at Bluffton Road. Three and a half long, hot hours later, we had collected over 40 trash bags full of debris from the 2.5-mile stretch.

Sara said, “Our group was astounded by the amount of waste we collected! Just imagine if everyone could wait until they reached their destination rather than tossing out their litter along the road side.”

We gathered everything from masks to hubcaps, bottles to toys and everything in between, building up a pyramid of trash along the roadway for the City of Fort Wayne to come haul away.

If you want to share your pride for our Waynedale community like Lippert Components did in one afternoon, you have another opportunity coming up.

The Great American Cleanup is scheduled to happen on Saturday, September 19th. Residents, families, churches, youth organizations, schools, businesses and service organizations are encouraged to make a difference in their community and neighborhoods by participating in the nation’s most extensive community improvement program. Even though the registration date has passed to receive supplies from the City, you can still host your own cleanup on this day. I have several opportunities left on my original list I can share with you!

Camille Garrison

Camille Garrison

Camille is a community leader, event organizer, trails supporter and more! After working near Waynedale for just over a year, she knew she wanted to call it home. She loves the friendliness and closeness of the community and have grown to be very passionate about seeing Waynedale prosper. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer