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Volunteers dig landscaping projects (video)

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
Aug. 30, 2012 at 3:30 a.m.
Updated Aug. 31, 2012 at 3:31 a.m.

Sandra Andrers of DuPont carries sod to the back of the women's shelter where she and fellow volunteers laid the grass during the Victoria County United Way Day of Caring on Thursday. About 150 volunteers, including about two dozen from DuPont, took part in the  thrid annual event kicking off the United Way's 2012-13 fundraising campaign.

An excited Angelcia DeLaGarza patted down the dirt around a tree she had just planted at the women's shelter.

She looked up, beaming.

DeLaGarza's enthusiastic smile came, not only because she was volunteering to help with the landscaping project, but because she realized the work she had just done relates to lessons she teaches her Girl Scouts.

"In the process of planting the tree, I realized one of our journeys, called Between Earth and Sky for our Daisy Girl Scouts," she said. "While I was digging the hole, I saw the layers in the soil and identified them.

"The lessons I teach the girls, I got to see myself. I feel like I earned my Journey badge today," DeLaGarza said. "Being here is important to me, too, because it's a chance to give back to the community. We teach our girls the importance of giving back."

And she wasn't alone.

More than 150 volunteers took part in the Victoria County United Way's third annual Day of Caring.

The event, at the Mid-Coast Family Services women's shelter, kicked off the United Way's annual fundraising campaign.

"What I think is great is that the Day of Caring gives people an opportunity to get together, shoulder to shoulder, rubbing elbows and breaking sweat, knowing they are making a difference," said Russell Janecka, president of the United Way board of directors.

He added it gives people an opportunity to feel they are making a difference just as much as donating to United Way.

"Sweat equity gives a greater sense of accomplishment and appreciation for what difference you are making in Victoria," Janecka said.

Among the projects the volunteers took part in were installing flag poles, sodding the backyard, planting trees, prepping plant beds and planting bushes, and installing rock beds.

In addition, work was done in the kennel area of the shelter.

About two dozen volunteers from DuPont took part in the Day of Caring.

"We realize it's important to give back to the community," said Craig Mosman, an engineer and captain of the volunteers. "We work here, but we also live here. We want to be part of the community and give back a little bit."

Ginny Stafford, executive director of Mid-Coast Family Services, was thrilled with the assistance - and the United Way funding her agency received.

She noted when the shelter opened, it only had the bare necessities, as far as landscaping was concerned.

"We wanted to make this a place that is inviting that the women will feel comfortable coming into," Stafford said.

"Having this giant group of volunteers come in and do the backyard grass, the flower beds and the trees will set that kind of stage."

Stafford said her staff could not have done the work alone and would have had to hire it out, a project that is cost prohibitive on the agency's budget.

"Since we moved into the shelter, our budget has definitely changed," she said. "Our daily census has gone up. We're spending more on food, water and electricity.

"Without United Way, we'd be in trouble. It really helps pay the bills."



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