AWENDAW -- Felecia Curry doesn't like bugs, heat, water or being outdoors, but she stood in the sun Friday on the edge of a pond painting window trim for Trident United Way's 10th annual Day of Caring.
Curry, an accountant at the Medical University of South Carolina, was one of nearly 200 volunteers at Windwood Farm, a home for abused and neglected children. Teams from six companies showed up at the 110-acre farm to paint, landscape, clear trails and make benches.
"It's an adventure," Curry said, especially for someone who is "not an outside person."
Held in many areas across the United States, the Day of Caring is a chance for people to volunteer at nonprofit organizations throughout their communities.
Last year the local event was the largest in the country, with 5,500 volunteers, and this year was even bigger, said Barry Waldman, Trident United
Way's vice president of communications.
More than 6,200 volunteers, mostly from companies and government organizations, registered to help this year with 351 projects in the tri-county area, he said. The local event is bigger than the Day of Caring events in the rest of South Carolina combined, he said.
Reginald Clark, a quality technician for Cummins Turbo Technologies, said his company sent a morning and an afternoon volunteer team to Windwood Farm.
"God blessed you, so you can bless others," he said. "And it feels good."
Windwood Farm Executive Director Debbie McKelvey said her organization has been part of Day of Caring for the past 10 years. "With Day of Caring, you see how much work can get done in one day," she said.
The event spawned other volunteer efforts, she said. Six or seven times a year, the program holds "Work with Windwood" days where volunteers from a community or church group take on a project at the farm.
That's exactly what Day of Caring should be -- inspiring, Waldman said. "The goal is to turn one fabulous day of caring into an ongoing effort."
He said agency directors with the groups that benefit from the volunteer labor have told him they don't have the time, labor or money to complete the projects. Day of Caring brings in contributions they couldn't get otherwise, he said.
Volunteers fanned out across the area Friday, doing everything from reading to schoolchildren to cleaning cages at the International Primate Protection League to bagging oyster shells for the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control's reclamation project, he said.
The weather was great and volunteers accomplished an amazing amount of work, Waldman said. "People say it's the hardest day they worked all year, and the most fun."
Reach Diane Knich at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-5491.