A widow needs items outside her home painted and repaired, but she can’t do it herself and doesn’t have extra money to pay someone to do the work.

Landscaping also needs attention, and an old shed behind her home needs to be torn down.

This is the type of person Jackson County United Way would like to help with this year’s Day of Caring, which is set for May 10.

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In celebration of the 20th year of the program, organizers are focusing on helping senior citizens.

“Day of Caring is all about neighbors helping neighbors, one great day of volunteering your time to help those in need,” said Karen Brooks, who is co-chairing the event with Ron Duncan. “This year, there is a big push to help senior citizens with projects outside of their homes.”

Bonita Dobbs, program manager with Jackson County United Way, said a record 720 volunteers have signed up to help with projects around the county, and the goal is to have 1,000 people involved. Last year, 650 people volunteered.

More than 60 projects have been turned in, but 40 more are needed to meet the demand of the volunteer groups and keep people busy.

The deadline to return a project request form or a volunteer request form is 5 p.m. Friday. Those can be obtained by contacting Dobbs at 812-522-5450 or bonita@jacsy.org or visiting jacsy.org/pdf/DOC Volunteer2016.pdf.

“We thought last year’s numbers were impressive numbers; however, in May, we plan to have 1,000 volunteers and must have 100 project places for them to serve for the day,” Duncan said. “This will be amazing. Let’s continue to grow and give back to our wonderful county.”

Dobbs said she encourages people to think outside the box when submitting projects. Individual projects must be recommended by a local nonprofit agency or a church. Projects at people’s homes only can be outside.

“We want to reach out to all of the county — Crothersville, Brownstown, Medora, Freetown, anyplace in Jackson County,” Dobbs said. “We would love to be out there helping them.”

Day of Caring will kick off at 7:30 a.m. May 10 at Seymour Middle School’s football field at 920 N. O’Brien St. Information about the day will be shared, and a photo will be taken before volunteers spread out around the county to take on a project.

Projects scheduled include clearing a lot for Habitat for Humanity, assisting in refurbishing of the historical Joe Jackson Hotel in Vallonia, painting the Houston School, repairing wood damage on the pottery facility at Southern Indiana Center for the Arts and more.

Typically, volunteers are provided lunch at their worksite. But with senior citizen-related projects this year, Dobbs said Cummins Inc. has stepped up to provide lunches so the senior citizens don’t feel obligated.

Dobbs said Day of Caring is a big undertaking each year, but the committee members and volunteers from around the county make it successful.

“We have a very, very dedicated committee putting in a lot of the behind-the-scenes time with the program,” she said. “It’s the volunteers that absolutely make this the greatest program in Jackson County.”

At a glance

The 20th annual Jackson County United Way Day of Caring is set for May 10.

The goal is to have 1,000 volunteers to help with 100 projects.

Currently, there are more than 720 volunteers and 60 projects.

All nonprofit, governmental and faith-based projects will be accepted until 5 p.m. Friday.

For a project request form or a volunteer request form, contact Bonita Dobbs, program manager with Jackson County United Way, by calling 812-522-5450, emailing bonita@jacsy.org or visiting jacsy.org/pdf/DOCVolunteer2016.pdf.

Projects not accepted due to scope will be notified.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.