WINCHESTER, Va. (WDVM) — With over 1,000 volunteers ready to work, the United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley kicked off its 19th annual Day of Caring event Thursday.
Those volunteers spread across about 110 projects for various non-profit organizations slated for Thursday and Friday, with many of the projects occurring Thursday in Winchester, Frederick County, and Clarke County. Additional projects are scheduled for Friday in Shenandoah and Page counties.
UWNSV President Nadine Pottinga says all together, those volunteer hours equal nearly $210,000 in value to the non-profits that are benefitting from the Day of Caring.
“A lot of these agencies don’t have the man-power or the resources to get a lot of these projects done on a day to day basis,” Pottinga said. “To have a group come in and be able to do that for them is just a great value to them and to the community.”
After a brief kick-off event at the Millwood Station, teams headed out to their various sites.
Several landed at the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center in Boyce, Va. There, volunteers quickly got to work, many helping to sort through storage rooms to determine what was usable for the rehab center and what was merely junk.
Others headed to the animal enclosures.
“They are reconstructing an 8 by 8 enclosure out in our pre-release area,” said Jennifer Burghoffer, the center’s manager of education. “They’re furnishing a cage for our educational opossum and they’re also cleaning our raptor cages and re-doing their perches.”
A group of Valley Health employees stood inside a cage labeled “Bald Eagle.”
When asked what they were doing, the answer was simple: “Picking up urine and poop and vomit that the birds have left behind,” the volunteer said with a laugh, adding that the vomit was considerably smaller than what she was used to dealing with in human patients.
Sarah Price, a volunteer with Navy Federal Credit Union, says as an animal lover, the day presented been a great opportunity to assist a non-profit she cares about.
“I feel like it’s such a great organization,” Price said while taking a break from building an animal enclosure. “You go to all these different places. It’s not just you know helping out fire halls, it’s coming to things like this and doing, you know, helping out animals. For me personally I think it’s just great and our company really pushes for it.
Burghoffer says for a non-profit with a small staff of just six full-time employees, the volunteer work is priceless.
“Work like that would take us months,” Burghoffer said. “They’re going to accomplish it in a day and that’s really amazing for us.”