Day of Caring

Youthful volunteers help spiff up a yard during United Way’s annual Day of Caring. ( Photo courtesy of United Way/Jamar Ruff)

Group offers a (united) way to help

They show up each year, tools in hand, ready to work.

Volunteers mow lawns, trim hedges and clean gutters. Teams of high school kids, families, community groups and business colleagues donate time and skills on behalf of the elderly and disabled in Coos and Curry counties.

“I was totally wowed last year,” said United Way Director Jen Shafer. “A lot of volunteers were repeats.”

The aptly named Day of Caring attracted 130 volunteers to help 40 households in 2019. They’ll be back in 2020. And, thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund, United Way hopes to recruit even more.

 “The Day of Caring project is truly a collaborative effort, pulling in volunteers of all ages,” said Jackie Chambers, the tribal fund’s administrator. “This is a chance for many to donate time to their neighbors – an important cultural value of the Coquille Indian Tribe.”

The tribe’s check to United Way was one of 71 grants distributed by the fund in 2020. The tribe’s 2020 Grant Week awarded more than $366,000, bringing the fund’s long-term total to nearly $2.8 million.

United Way of Southwestern Oregon, launched in 1961, is part of an international organization that serves 1,800 communities in 40 countries and territories across the world. The local group’s mission is to “fight for the health, education and financial stability” of South Coast residents, collaborating with other nonprofits to make a “collective impact.” 

This year’s Day of Caring will be held Saturday, June 20. United Way is already recruiting teams.

“This is a national day of service for United Ways across the country,” Shafer said. “Last year our volunteers ranged in age from 7 to adult. So it’s a very family-friendly environment.”

Day of Caring is not United Way’s only service to the South Coast. Another is “Coats and Shoes for Kids,” which the tribal grant also will support.

“Every child deserves a good life and that includes the basics of food, shelter and clothing,” Chambers said. “We are happy to be contributors to this valuable community program.”

The program served 308 kids in grades K-12 in 2018. The number grew last year to more than 370, and United Way hopes to serve more this year.

 “The kids love it. The parents are appreciative,” Shafer said. “The local kids get to come to Walmart and pick out their shoes, which is very empowering.”

If you’d like to volunteer for Day of Caring, or if you know elderly or disabled people in need, you can contact Jen Shafer at (541) 267-5202 or [email protected].

More tribal grants

United Way was one of 31 groups receiving 2020 grants in the Coquille Tribal Community Fund’s health category. Here’s the complete list for that category:

  • Brookings Harbor Community Helpers Food Bank, $5,000
  • CASA of Douglas County Inc., $7,500
  • Christian Help of Gold Beach Inc., $2,000
  • Compassion Highway Project, $5,000
  • Conference of St. Vincent de Paul Myrtle Creek, $5,000
  • Coos Bay Coast League, $3,000
  • Coos County Friends of Public Health, $5,000
  • Coquille Indian Tribe Community Health Center, $5,000
  • Florence Food Share, $5,000
  • Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, $5,000
  • Gold Beach Community Center, $5,000
  • Harmony United Methodist Church, $2,500
  • Kids’ HOPE Center, $5,500
  • Knights of Columbus Council 1261, $4,000
  • La Clinica del Valle, $10,000
  • Lane Leadership Foundation, $5,000
  • Maslow Project, $7,000
  • Operation Rebuild Hope, $5,000
  • Oregon Coast Community Action CASA, $7,500
  • Oregon Coast Community Action FOOD SHARE, $5,000
  • Pearl Buck Center Incorporated, $5,000
  • Powers Food Pantry, $5,400
  • Reedsport Rotary Foundation, $4,000
  • Siuslaw Outreach Services, $5,000
  • Southwestern Oregon Veterans Outreach Inc., $4,500
  • The Child Center, $5,000
  • The Friendly Kitchen/Meals on Wheels Roseburg, $5,000
  • The Safe Project, $2,000
  • The Waffle Project, $3,000
  • Umpqua United Soccer Club, $1,500
  • United Way of Southwestern Oregon, $5,000

Total: $144,400

Learn more about the Community Fund




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