A sea of red splashed across Forsyth County on Friday morning.
Community volunteers, wearing red United Way T-shirts, spent a few hours donating their helping hands to some local causes in the nonprofit’s 10th annual Day of Caring.
Ruth Goode, executive director of United Way of Forsyth County, thanked the crowd for its time during the kickoff breakfast at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center.
“Our goal today is to spread the red,” Goode said. “The shirt is just a shirt until you put it on your back and put a heart in it. Living united is what you do in that shirt.”
A record 595 volunteers signed up this year, including 39 teams from local businesses, civic clubs, churches and schools.
Penny Penn, United Way’s local board of directors’ president, called the turnout a “testament” to the community’s commitment to giving back.
Employees from Northside Hospital-Forsyth spent part of their morning mulching landscapes to beautify the outside of the Bald Ridge Lodge boys’ home.
It was Carolyn Booker’s fourth year participating in the Day of Caring.
Booker said the event is an opportunity to give back to the community and the social service agencies that work with the hospital to provide for those in need.
“Many of those agencies have come through for us,” Booker said.
Co-worker Julie Paruolo said she enjoys watching the immediate benefits from the hands-on volunteering, as well as the teamwork of employees.
An employee of UPS, Lloyd Knight said the company’s philosophy encourages workers to give back, but there’s also an added bonus.
“We’re building teamwork outside of work,” Knight said. “I enjoy that.”
The UPS team spent the Day of Caring working outside of the Cumming Post Office.
Jim Mooney chuckled at the irony of their volunteer efforts.
“I didn’t think the post office was where I was going to end up today,” said Mooney, who’s joined the UPS workers for the annual event for four years.
Nearly two dozen first-time Day of Caring volunteers followed school tradition in donating their time.
The sixth-graders from Horizon Christian Academy have volunteered at the event for the past five years, teacher Jennifer Bartlett said.
Service projects are a requirement for the students, Bartlett said, but Friday they got to work together as a class.
Danny Lee said the teamwork and getting to do activities outside of the classroom were enjoyable, as he handed a chair to classmate Jae Lee.
“It’s nice because God wants us to help others,” Jae Lee said.
The students spent their time arranging hundreds of chairs at the Cumming Fairgrounds in advance of today’s Forsyth Family Fest, which Bartlett said was a good fit for them.
“A lot of our students and families come to the Family Fest,” she said. “When we found out this was our project, we said ‘Yay.’”
Carri Beach was excited to lend a hand.
“We like helping people who need help,” Beach said. “This would have taken a lot of time for two people.”