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United Way of Forsyth County hosts 17th annual Day of Caring
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AT&T employees, Dena Sylvia and Tom Stidham, volunteer at the United Way of Forsyth County’s Day of Caring by packing hundreds of bags of food. - photo by Alexander Popp

Studio Forsyth: The United Way of Forsyth boxes 130,000 meals for those in need during its annual "Day of Caring"

By: Bradley Wiseman

On Friday, nearly 1,000 people from the north Georgia area went out into the community to make a difference and help local organizations for United Way of Forsyth County’s 17th annual Day of Caring.

According to Melissa Corliss, director of community impact for United Way, volunteers at the annual event spread across the county at the Forsyth Conference Center, Cumming City Park, The Place of Forsyth and Creative Enterprises.

Corliss said that the majority of their volunteers were stationed at the Forsyth Conference Center in south Forsyth and at Cumming City Park in Cumming. These volunteers were focused on packaging thousands of meals that will be given out to families in need in the county.

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At the conference center, long lines of volunteers queued up to don hairnets, aprons and fill bags with precise amounts of dried apple, oatmeal, soy and spices. 

Corliss said that each bag of food will contain enough to feed a family of six for a meal.

"It goes to families that have been identified as being food insecure in our community,” Corliss said. “So there are six different pantries that are coming here and will use that product in their business to the community." 

Corliss explained that more than 100 additional volunteers were packaging bags of a bean soup and snacks at the Cumming City Park for the local charities.

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"And it helps the food pantry,” Corliss said. “It supplements what they get through other means through food drives or their partnerships throughout the community, so this is a big supplement to help them throughout their mission.”

One volunteer, Tom Stidham, who was one of about 250 people from AT&T attending the event, said that he was happy for the large turnout for the event but wasn’t surprised considering how generous and giving the county has been in the past.

"It's amazing,” Stidham said. “It’s amazing and it's unbelievable how many people are doing this." 

Stidham said that this was his first time volunteering at the Day of Caring, but his colleagues at AT&T regularly volunteer as part of a company initiative to help out in the community.

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"Our company is a big advocate of giving back to the community and volunteering,” Stidham said. “So we get a lot of people at work together and choose where we can volunteer, and this is a great chance to give back to the community." 

For Blake Boling, treasurer and on the board of directors for United Way of Forsyth County, that spirit of giving back and camaraderie is what the annual event is all about.

He said that there is something powerful about coming together to help others, and events like this one fosters that spirit in its participants.

“As someone that's been involved with the day of caring for 10-12 years, its one day set aside where you literally put yourself behind you, and come together as a group ... rally together and really make a difference on peoples’ lives," Boling said.