Last year's United Way Day of Caring was cancelled due to COVID, but this year United Way Executive Director Jackie Wiswell says that with the governor's recent order lifting restrictions on activities and with increasing numbers of Moore County residents being vaccinated against COVID, the event can make a comeback this May 1. Wiswell is actively seeking teams of people from businesses, schools, and other walks of life across Moore County who are willing to work on a Saturday morning and elderly and disabled homeowners who have light home maintenance jobs that they cannot do themselves or afford to hire done. Deadline for both to register online at www.unitedwayofmoorecounty.org or by phone at 806-935-2571 is April 8.
On May 1, volunteers will gather at McDade Park at 7:30 am to receive an official tee shirt and have coffee and breakfast burritos. At 8:00 am, they will fan out across Moore County to work on projects including minor home repairs, yard work, cleaning, carpentry, small painting jobs, winterizing homes, and building wheel chair ramps, among other things. The jobs normally take about four to six hours, with the United Way furnishing the materials and the volunteers furnishing the tools. Wiswell added that, as a concession to COVID, the work will all be outside this year. The United Way will also provide volunteers with a barbecue lunch.
This will be the eighth Day of Caring. In 2019, more than 300 volunteers from 45 teams helped 55 homeowners. Wiswell said there were teams from high school sports, the Dumas Fire and Police departments, Moore County Sheriff's Office, City of Dumas employees, Amarillo College Lions Club, the Dumas High School Leo Club, and others. "It is a community event. They just really come out, and they look forward to it," said Wiswell. She said the event is important because "we have elderly and disabled people who would not be able to afford even these small jobs, and it is a good thing for them. They get to see a lot of young people, and it gives young people a chance to see how some of our elderly people are living, and it gives everybody a good feeling about what they are doing."
Wiswell added that teams and projects are not just limited to Dumas. Sunray, Cactus, and the rest of Moore County are included as well.
Whatever fears people may still have about COVID on May 1, Wiswell said United Way officials would work with them to insure that everyone was comfortable and enjoyed the day. Before 2020, the annual Day of Caring had become a successful tradition that grew a bit every year. Despite the interruption last year, Wiswell is counting on the tradition to continue. "Even though the event is only one day, the spirit of generosity and caring endures throughout the year. … We hope that everyone will step up to help out once again."