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Day of Caring Captures the Spirit of 9-11 as Gaylord Tornado Recovery Continues

GAYLORD, MICH-The Otsego County United Way is gearing up for its Day of Caring. Traditionally, Day of Caring engages around 100 individuals to complete a volunteer service for our community. This year there will be a morning rally on September 9, starting at 8:30 am, under the Pavilion downtown and then will disperse to their projects. Projects are made up of teams, to work on a wide variety of things like working at the Otsego Conservation Demonstration Gardens, renovating the Discovery Center, and painting a childcare room at Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency (NEMCSA).

After volunteering, everyone is invited to congregate again for a celebration lunch under the pavilion. Volunteers, volunteer sites, and those impacted by the tornado are invited to attend. This year’s event is sponsored by Consumers Energy and holds special meaning as the community continues to respond to the needs of the tornado survivors.

The OCUW has been a crucial player in the recovery of tornado survivors:

· Received almost $400,000 in contributions

· Served almost 600 tornado survivors (including individuals that worked at businesses impacted)

· Facilitated and distributed thousands of dollars in in kind donations

· Organized hundreds of hours in volunteer activities

The work the OCUW does is four-fold:

1. Providing emergency services

2. Keeping a pulse of high-level community needs

3. Granting dollars to nonprofit organizations.

4. Serving at the volunteer hub via the Volunteer Center and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) program

“It makes sense we are leading the charge on volunteers in response to the tornado,” said Laurie Andrews, RSVP Director. “My goal is engaging individuals 55 years and older in volunteer service to meet critical community needs (tornado and non-tornado related) and to provide a high-quality experience for the volunteers.”

Day of Caring kicks off the OCUW fall campaign and brings together business leaders, nonprofit partners, and volunteers across the county to work on needed service projects. Working together and fostering team building within the community exemplifies the “live united” spirit. This event usually coincides with the 9-11 a National Day of Service and is the nation’s largest annual day of charitable engagement. Millions of people throughout the U.S. and in 150 countries observe September 11 by performing good deeds that help others. Considering the tornado this day captures the ethos of this tragic, yet inspirational day that brings the community together.

Kimberly Akin, OCUW, Executive Director has been in her role since July 18 and has jumped feet first into responding to the community needs, “Otsego County is a resilient community that has overcome so much in the last few years. I am humbled by the collaboration I already see and feel here and energized by the challenges ahead. I will continue to work daily to improve lives by mobilizing the LARGE caring power of communities around the county and the world to advance the common good.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Day of Caring or OCUW’s key part in recovery from the 5.20.22 tornado, call 989.732.8929 and ask to speak with Kim.

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