ELIZABETHTOWN — More than 100 volunteers of all ages made their way to the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market throughout the day on Friday, and were then redirected to points around the county for assigned tasks as part of the third annual Day of Caring.
“The turnout has been wonderful,” said Gail Johnson, executive director of the Bladen County United Way. “None of this could be done without all the volunteers, and this year we’ve had more than ever before.”
Day of Caring was established by the United Way for the purpose of promoting volunteerism — as well as to bring awareness to the needs of local social service agencies and schools.
“We all get real excited about this each year,” Johnson said. “And Barbara Knight, our chairman, does a terrific job organizing this.
“This event affects so many people in the county,” Johnson added.
The Rev. Bruce Cannon, director of missions for the Bladen Baptist Association, said Day of Caring fills a need within the county.
“It’s really a wonderful event with a lot of caring people coming together,” he said.
Cannon was leading a team of volunteers to build a total of 10 wheelchair ramps in the county, which is merely putting a dent in the 52 requests that were received.
Many of the volunteers who stopped by the Farmer’s Market for their assignments also took part in sorting food and school supplies before they were put in backpacks for local school-age children.
“There are some children in this county who, when they leave school on Fridays, won’t get another meal until they come back on Monday,” Johnson said.
In addition to the wheelchair ramps and backpacks, the Day of Caring volunteers — including students from East Bladen and West Bladen high schools, as well as nursing students from Bladen Community College — also visited local nursing homes for reading, singing and games.