Day of Caring turns out thousands to give back to community

Volunteers from Ingevity clean up the years of dirt, trash and dust build up in the abandoned former Chicora Elementary School in North Charleston Friday November 13, 2015 as part of the United Way Day of Caring.

Thousands of volunteers from around the Lowcountry stayed away from the office Friday to spend their time digging into hundreds of community projects as they donated thousands of hours in the 16th annual Day of Caring.

Sweeping, painting, planting and general spruce-up were just some of the projects that sprouted around Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties.

“It’s just good to give back in a community I’ve lived in all my life,” said Lisa Grant of North Charleston, who helped sweep out the vacant Chicora Cherokee elementary school. She grew up in the area and works at Ingevity as a production scheduler.

Trident United Way Marketing Director Alyssa Glazener said preliminary involvement numbers show more than 5,000 people volunteered during the day, plus others who joined in.

Participants came from 130 companies, as well as 150 schools, agencies and nonprofits. A more accurate count will be released next week.

The Day of Caring was started by Trident United Way in 2000 to get service organizations and local businesses to partner with schools to work on various projects.

The first Day of Caring held had only 17 projects and 185 volunteers.

Since that first event, the types of targets has greatly expanded to include painting, cleaning, planting, bagging, reading and mentoring at hundreds of locations.

Also volunteering Friday was Matilda Jarmy-Crowley, a self-employed virtual business manager. She was with students from the University School of the Lowcountry preparing planting beds for the community garden behind the Chicora school.

“I’m not missing anything,” she joked about being away from work.

Another example was in Mount Pleasant where 500 sailors from the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command at Joint Base Charleston volunteered at the Patriots Point Maritime Museum. They did projects on all three of the site’s warships, its Vietnam Experience exhibit and also landscaping around the museum’s property.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.

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