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Victoria showed support on Day of Caring

By BY GINNY STAFFORD
Oct. 10, 2012 at 5:10 a.m.

Ginny Stafford is the chief executive officer of Mid-Coast Family Services.

On August 30, the United Way of Victoria County kicked off the 2012 giving campaign with a Day of Caring at the Women's Crisis Center. More than 130 people showed up at the new facility to help us complete work, both inside and out. By the end of the day, every single job we had on our "to do" list was done. Grass was down in the backyard; trees, bushes and flowers were planted; five yards of rock was laid under the fence and around the parking lot; shelves and fencing were installed in the pet kennel; chair rail was painted and installed in the dining room; and cleaning and touch-up painting was completed in the halls and doorways. It was a day of hard work, completed by volunteers who worked through the intense August heat because they cared about their community. It truly was a Day of Caring, which began a Season of Caring as the United Way campaign kicks into high gear.

Clifford Grimes and Rosemary Smith, represent the United Way spirit in the enthusiastic way they joined in the work. Along with Margaret Carver, the Day of Caring chairperson, they organized the volunteers, solicited donations and provided the oversight we needed. Jeanette, from the H.E.B.-Plus garden center, worked to make sure the planting was done properly. The awesome crews from DuPont and Dow took charge of the grass. The boys' basketball team from Victoria College showed up to help with the heavy lifting. There were volunteers from our major employers in the area. It was a thrill to see many volunteers from other non-profit agencies, such as Perpetual Help Home, Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army, VCAM, Girls Scouts and Gulf Bend Center. It was a wonderful reminder that the non-profits in Victoria believe in and support each other's work.

There were many businesses that supported The Day of Caring financially and with in-kind support. First Victoria National Bank, Klean Corp. Int., Caterpillar, Victoria Television, Agama Advertising, Victoria Advocate, Victoria Sweeping, Tony and Anna Holladay, Lowe's, Wells Fargo, LyondellBasell, DuPont, H.E.B., New Distributing, Janecka Insurance, Prosperity Bank and ZACHRY all donated to make sure we could purchase the supplies we needed.

Other donors provided items that were needed that day. A+ Party Rentals provided tables, chairs, a tent and best of all, an oversized-outdoor-fan. INVISTA provided our lunch. Sign Crafters took care of our printing needs. Serrano Services brought all the decorative rock we could spread. Grandy's and Chick-fil-A provided our breakfast while Dr Pepper-Snapple donated drinks. Trey Hensel, of Victoria Sweeping, donated yard supplies and Redding and Associates and The Other Feed Store donated the grass that went down that day. Sacred Heart Ambulance Service spent the day with us to take care of medical needs.

But the highlight of the day was when two brave sisters told the story of how family violence affected them and cost their mother her life. They reminded us all that hope is possible when times seem the darkest. The work that was done on the Day of Caring made a statement. It sent a loud message that the residents who stay at the shelter are valued and important. Victims often feel inferior and may even have come to believe that they deserve the abuse they've endured. But the extra effort that day said that there is a huge host of Victorians who care about them and want them to find a better life. As I thankfully reflect on the work that was accomplished on the Day of Caring, I am reminded that it was only possible because Victoria is a Community of Caring.

Ginny Stafford is the chief executive officer of Mid-Coast Family Services.

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