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The Ally: Apr 2021 – Member Spotlight: United Way of West Central MS

Michele Connelly
Executive Director
United Way of West Central MS

Volunteerism, by definition, is the policy or practice of volunteering one’s time or talents for charitable, educational, or other worthwhile activities, especially in one’s community. United Way of West Central Mississippi relies on its volunteers for one of its most significant events, “Day of Caring.” Day of Caring brings together energetic volunteers for a single-day service event to help non-profit organizations across their service area. 

Day of Caring has evolved over the past two years due to COVID restrictions, but the purpose remains; the community comes together to help.

The challenges brought about by 2020 took Day of Caring from a celebratory gathering of volunteers who work on projects on-site to a scaled-back version of the event. In the new format, volunteers could take the projects to their own space, an area where they felt safe. 

Projects consisted of placing labels in books, writing thank you letters to first responders, and folding brochures.  Those were just a few of the tasks that were created so that we could still celebrate the act of volunteering and giving back. 

The one thing the activities had in common was that they could be completed in safety, away from other volunteers. We had to meet our volunteers where they were .

This year there are glimpses of how Day of Caring used to be, there are projects that will be completed on-site, at the non-profits, with other volunteers, but there are also projects that can be completed in the safety of the volunteer’s home.  A hybrid Day of Caring has evolved to meet our volunteers’ needs and maintain this significant event.

The act of volunteering did not diminish during the past two years. Those that wanted to volunteer and give back to their communities did so, just in a different manner.  The United Way of West Central Mississippi was there and will continue to bring people together to give back to their community.

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