WILKES-BARRE — More than 700 volunteers are getting their game faces on as they prepare to be deployed Friday in the 21st annual United Way of Wyoming Valley Day of Caring.
Representatives of the organizations that will be sending volunteers picked up their bright blue T-shirts Monday at the United Way offices in the former Citizens Bank building.
Connie Kostelac of River Run Rehab and Nursing Center in Kingston knows what the Day of Caring is all about. Her agency has received help from volunteers for past few years and now the employees are giving back.
River Run will send six volunteers to the Slocum Street Park in Swoyersville to help paint playground equipment, pull weeds, plant flowers and do maintenance.
“We know what it has meant to us to be a recipient of this event,” Kostelac said. “Now we want to help out and give back because we know how important this help can be to an agency.”
Bill Jones, president/CEO of United Way of Wyoming Valley, said about 4,200 volunteer hours will be worked on Friday with an estimated value in services of $95,000.
“Those participating will get a real sense of what these agencies do,” Jones said. “The community will be out there helping the agencies get things done that they may otherwise not be able to afford to do.”
Karen Stempowski of Berkshire Hathaway Guard Insurance Cos. will dispatch eight volunteers to the Shawnee Cemetery in Plymouth.
“We’ve been helping at the Day of Caring for a number of years,” Stempowski said. “We feel it is important to give back to the community by doing something helpful to organizations like the Shawnee Cemetery.”
John Winslow, director of communications and special events, offered examples of the projects being addressed Friday:
• At West Pittston Library, volunteers from Family Service Association, Diamond Manufacturing Co., Educational Opportunity Center and Luzerne County Community College will assist with general cleaning tasks.
• At riverfront parks in Wilkes-Barre, volunteers will be collecting and bagging litter, removing trail obstructions and doing various other grounds maintenance duties. Volunteers from Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Community Bank N.A., Sallie Mae Inc., Mondelez International, Pennsylvania American Water and Coughlin High School will be on hand.
• The Lands at Hillside Farms will have help with gardening activities, general cleanup, some repairs and possible painting projects from volunteers from First Keystone Community Bank, M&T Bank, Hilton Garden Inn and Lord & Taylor.
Joan Clowes of Educational Opportunity Centers in Kingston said five employees will volunteer Friday for the first time at Day of Caring.
“This is brand new for us,” she said. “We just want to get out there and help.”