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Annual Day of Caring kicks off United Way campaign
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Forsyth County News

Nearly 500 volunteers will spend Friday morning helping others.

United Way of Forsyth County will present its annual Day of Caring and 2014 Campaign Kick-Off beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center.

Leigh Crow, director of resource development for United Way, said this year’s event has drawn about 40 teams of volunteers.

“That’s pretty much on par for what we’ve had the past few years,” she said. “The teams come from businesses, civic clubs, churches, school groups … we even have a restaurant that’s having a team so it’s awesome.”

This year’s format will be a little different than years past.

Crow said rather than all the teams of volunteers going out into the community to work at various nonprofits, many will remain at the conference after a light breakfast to take part in a new, large-scale service project.

“This is new for us this year,” Crow said. “Basically, in the past we’ve had volunteer teams sign up and then we assign them projects at different nonprofits in the community.

“This year we have a little bit of that, but we have about 300 of the volunteers who are going to do one big project at the conference center, and that’s the United Way Food Friday project.”

Through the project, Crow said, the volunteers will work together to package some 50,000 nonperishable meals.

Crow said volunteers will work in different stations to measure and package dry meals such as macaroni and cheese, and rice and beans.

The meals will be loaded onto trucks and distributed to several local food programs, including The Place of Forsyth County, Hightower Baptist Association, the MSG Foundation, and Meals by Grace. Several church food pantries, including those at Cumming First United Methodist, First Christian and St. Brendan’s, will also receive some of the meals.

About 2,000 of the 50,000 will also be shipped to people in need in Africa, Crow said.

About 200 of the volunteers will go out into the community to work at various nonprofit organizations.

The event will also serve as the kickoff event for the United Way’s 2014 fundraising campaign.