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Local nonprofit urging CNY residents to donate time on same day

Volunteers work at the diaper bank.
Meghan Burke
Volunteers work at the diaper bank.

The United Way of Central New York is leading an event that brings the community together to do service work. Volunteers on Thursday will scatter across the area at locations such as the zoo, parks, and food banks.

United Way of Central New York’s Day of Caring calls on the community to show support and get involved. The return of the one-day event comes as a celebration of the organization’s 100th anniversary. Chief Marketing Officer Ray Manassa said community support for the effort has been a big success.

“When you put it out there you don’t know for sure what’s going to happen and we were overwhelmed by the response. So in that first year to know that we have now 850 volunteers, many companies, many non-profits—we will definitely be coming back with 'Day of Caring,'” Manassa said.

Volunteers range from individuals who signed up alone to do jobs like gardening and meal prepping to teams with 100-plus members. These large groups are organized by companies, including Wegmans who, Manassa said, find value in the work of United Way.

“Companies are invested in our community and the day off that they might not be in the office doing the work it’s still team building for them and it’s an opportunity for them to say we’re here, we’re local, and we’re committed to this community,” Manassa said.

The Day of Caring is no longer accepting participants but Manassa said there are always ways to engage in community service.

“You don’t have to be here with us on the day of caring to get involved and make a difference. You go to and you’re probably going to find an opportunity that’s going to suit you,” Manassa said.

The Day of Caring is expected to see pretty high temperatures, so, United Way is considering holding next year’s event in a month with less extreme weather.