Day of Caring volunteers tackle big projects

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Thousands of people are rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty Wednesday, volunteering as part of the 24th annual United Way Day of Caring.

It’s the largest one-day volunteer event in Western New York. This year, 3,300 volunteers from 142 companies will complete 215 projects at 122 sites around Erie County.

About 80 of those volunteers, Citi employees, are helping out at Corpus Christi Church on Clark Street in Buffalo, taking on nearly a dozen big projects in the church’s five buildings. “Something that would take us six or eight months to do is being done in one day,” said Chris Cooley, a dedicated Corpus Christi volunteer.

Corpus Christi is a huge property, and maintenance is a tall order. The efforts of the Day of Caring volunteers make a huge difference. “What they offer us is just a tremendous amount of work that can be done in a short period of time,” said Norman Markowski, the president of the Social and Athletic Club at Corpus Christi.

“There’s so many things we have to do, the things we want to do just get neglected, so these things that are getting done are the things we want done, and that’s tremendous for our church,” Cooley said.

Day of Caring volunteers spent Wednesday tackling several large projects, including cleaning out the church basement to make way for a new drainage system, repairing a chimney, rebuilding a handicap entrance ramp, clearing out years of stuff that accumulated in the Social and Athletic Club building, painting, landscaping, sorting, scrubbing, and sweeping.

“It’s a nice thought that an organization like this can lean on everybody,” said one of the Citi employees who was helping out, Kris Muzzillo. “It’s a nice way to spend the day.”

The United Way’s Day of Caring offers half day and full day volunteer opportunities, including painting, landscaping, activities and field trips with youth and seniors, habitat clean up, building playgrounds and assembling picnic benches.

According the United Way, over the last 23 years, the efforts of United Way Day of Caring volunteers have saved local agencies about $8 million, with more than 444,000 hours of service donated by more than 112,000 volunteers.

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