Volunteers show they care
June 13, 2008 · Updated 3:22 PM
By PAT JENKINS
Its that time of year again.
United Way of King County began its annual fund-raising campaign Friday, its massive, once-a-year Day of Caring kickoff involving more than 11,000 volunteers from 349 companies working on 326 community service projects.
The number of volunteers was up from last years total of 7,500.
For the largest single-day mobilization of volunteers in Washington, companies and their employees planned to do more than $1 million worth of labor for non-profit health and human service agencies around the county. The estimated dollar value is based on the volunteer pay-scale equivalent from philanthropic advocate Independent Sector.org, according to United Way.
The day began at 7:30 a.m. with simultaneous rallies at the Weyerhauser corporate campus in Federal Way and Seattle Centers Mural Amphitheater.
Then came the work. In Federal Way, volunteers from the Federal Aviation Administration and Cardinal Distribution painted, cleaned and did yard work at the Boys and Girls Club, Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance employees helped with office work at KidReach, and Microsoft workers pitched in at the food and clothing banks operated by Multi-Service Center.
The work at the Boys and Girls Club probably wouldnt get done otherwise, said director Shelley Puariea. We had the materials but not the labor.
United Way began planning for last Friday in January; recruitment of volunteers started in April.
The anticipated countywide volunteer workforce of 11,000-plus ÐÐ up from last years 7,500 ÐÐ was indicative of how the overall campaign will succeed, said Ginny Meisenbach, co-chairwoman with her husband, John.
United Way of King Countys goal for the fund-raising is $97.7 million, which we expect to easily surpass, Meisenbach said.
A record $94.5 million was raised in the last campaign, when the $54-a-person average contribution in King County topped United Ways nationwide in per capita giving. Only United Way of New York City ($103.3 million) raised more overall.
We are fortunate to live in such a strong, caring community, and we believe the people of King County will once again support their community in this time of need, Meisenbach said.
United Way of King County has provided a 1.9 percent increase in funding for partner agencies this year, as well as increased focus on homelessness, hunger and domestic violence.
Day of Caring sponsors included Bank of America, Clear Channel Radio Seattle, KCPQ Q-13, KTWB 22, Lowes Home Improvement Warehouse, Marriott, Microsoft, Seattle Center, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, TalkingRain, Washington Mutual and Weyerhaeuser.
Editor Pat Jenkins can be reached at 925-5565 and email@example.com