Volunteers roll up their sleeves in annual Day of Caring
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent August 23, 2013 10:07PM
Karen Alexander of Jackson Township in Porter County, Ind., paints a resident’s room Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, at Alice’s House for United Way’s Day of Caring. | Sun-Times Media
For more on the United Way of Porter County, go to www.unitedwaypc.org.
Updated: September 25, 2013 6:11AM
VALPARAISO — About 17 members of Chesterton United Methodist Church descended on Alice’s House on Friday morning.
Their mission: Paint the residents’ 10 bedrooms and put up new blinds, the first in a series of steps to freshen the halfway house, which serves 15 women.
“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be able to have it done,” said facility director Nuria Romero-Whitton, who started there in February and added her goal is to provide a homier atmosphere for the house’s residents.
In all, about 1,400 volunteers from the business and not-for-profit sectors took on projects in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties for the annual Day of Caring, painting, cleaning, landscaping and even playing with dogs for the region’s not-for-profit agencies.
The events in Porter County started with a kickoff breakfast at Strongbow Inn, where volunteers sported light blue T-shirts and waived bright blue foam hands printed with “Be the One” in the air.
“Today we’re very excited to be able to disclose our ‘Be the One’ campaign, and today, you are the one,” said Greg Farrell, who is campaign co-chairman with his wife, Liz.
This year’s fundraising campaign goal is $1.8 million, which will be spread among 38 agencies in Porter County.
“Today is a fantastic day throughout Porter County,” Farrell said. “You should be very proud of what you’re doing.”
Some of the projects took place earlier in the week. Kathy Wojkovich, director of the United Way’s regional volunteer center, said the Oil ’n’ Go in Valparaiso gave 10 Housing Opportunities clients free oil changes. Housing Opportunities offers shelter to the homeless and those transitioning out of homelessness.
“It was so touching,” Wojkovich said. “With getting their kids back to school, this is the last thing on their list, and they have no money for it.”