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United Way, community members ready to give back

United Way is gearing up for another big day of community cleanup with its 15th annual Day of Caring, scheduled for Friday, June 20.

More than 500 volunteers are expected to turn out, offering nothing more than time, effort and hands-on work to give back to Kitsap County.

“The spirit of this day is to go out into the community and give back,” United Way of Kitsap County Director of Resources Patricia Hennessy said.

Day of Caring volunteers work at project sites throughout the county to weed, garden, paint and clean trails, among others, chipping in wherever there’s work to be done.

“We’re all over the map,” Hennessy said. “There’s something for everybody on this day.”

Projects include cleaning up parks, painting buildings, organizing food banks and clearing trails, with sites located from Belfair all the way to Bainbridge Island.

Work from last year’s event, which drew more than 600 volunteers, translated into $72,000 in savings, Hennessy said.

“That’s a tremendous value to our community,” she said. “This is a significant investment.”

Last year’s project sites included the Max Hale Center in Bremerton, Kitsap YWCA and Holly Ridge Center and Kitsap Child Care and Preschool. Volunteers worked between four and six hours at the various sites.

“The intent of this is not only to give back to non-profits, but to sample volunteering,” Hennessy said, adding that 40 non-profit agencies will participate in this year’s event.

United Way’s sponsors, including Costco, KPS Health Plans, Harrison Medical Center and others, chipped in to make Day of Caring possible.

“We couldn’t do it without them,” Hennessy said.

Day of Caring begins at 7:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast at the President’s Hall at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds. From there, volunteers will be sent out to project sites.

“This is a family event,” Hennessy said. “It’s a great opportunity for everyone — young and old.”

Volunteers can register online at http://www.volunteerkitsap.org/.

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