Seacoast gets busy helping on Day of Caring

Thursday, May 15, 2008

DOVER β€” Bright yellow T-shirts dotted Dover like dandelions as dozens of volunteers donning the spring “Day of Caring” shirts painted, planted and spread mulch to help out local non-profits.

Volunteers from various local businesses left their keyboards and phones behind Wednesday to take part in the United Way’s 3rd annual Day of Caring.

Julie Cook, who works for Liberty Mutual, said she was happy to leave her desk behind on the sunny day to help the Cocheco Valley Humane Society with some landscaping.

“I actually enjoy doing this kind of thing,” Cook said. “I don’t ever get to do it because I have to sit at a desk all day.”

Cook was just one of more than 800 volunteers to sign up for various projects around the Seacoast, marking the second year in a row that attendance has grown by 100 volunteers.

In Dover, volunteers were sent to work at several different locations, including the Joe Parks Community Garden, HUB Family Resources, the Cocheco Valley Humane Society and Our House for Girls.

A full day’s work by the numerous volunteers around the Seacoast, including more than 400 from Liberty Mutual, amounted to more than $132,600 in volunteer time for local nonprofits, Sue Suter, executive director of the United Way of the Greater Seacoast, said in an official release.

Lisa Mastro, who also works at Liberty Mutual, said the chance to work outside on a nice day was only complimented by knowing her work was helping a good cause.

“These nonprofit places need all the help they can get,” Mastro said.

For many of the volunteers, the Day of Caring has become a regular event.

“This is my third year,” Lisa Couture, who works at Liberty Mutual, said as she took a break from spreading compost near the McConnell Center. “I think it’s a good service to the community, and I like being outside.”

In total, the event coordinated work at 43 nonprofits around the Seacoast, including Portsmouth, Exeter, Greenland, Kingston, Rochester, Seabrook, Strafford and Stratham.