About 70 volunteers filled the community room of the United Way of Porter County’s offices on Friday, filling more than 500 backpacks with school supplies.
Brenda Rogers, director of emergency services for Porter Regional Hospital and Portage Hospital, put markers in each school bag.
“It’s actually very fulfilling,” she said of the volunteer opportunity. “I would love to see the kids’ faces.”
Rogers wants to help deliver the backpacks, which will go to the Salvation Army of Porter County, Porter County Aging and Community Services and schools within the county with a high rate of free and reduced-price lunches.
“We’re nurses, so we’ve got to see it through to the end, like following a patient and seeing how they recover,” she said.
In all, more than 1,000 volunteers tackled 70 projects at 45 nonprofit organizations throughout the region for the annual Day of Caring, according to Mackenna Dickt, assistant regional director of the United Way’s regional volunteer center, which is based in Valparaiso.
Jenica Sutherland, an emergency room educator for Porter Regional Hospital, put glue and crayons in student backpacks. “I was surprised to see how many kids in Porter County need backpacks, so that was kind of eye-opening,” she said, adding she would also like to help deliver the backpacks.
In another part of the community room, Michelle O’Connor sorted school supplies before other volunteers put them in the backpacks.
“It’s for the kids,” said O’Connor, an MRI technician at Porter Regional Hospital. “I like the camaraderie. It’s fun, it’s time well spent.”
Other Porter County projects on Friday included painting and landscaping for Housing Opportunities and cleaning at the Valparaiso Family YMCA.
The Lake Area United Way hosted a “Pack-a-Palooza” at Avalon Manor in Merrillville, with a goal of more than 250 volunteers packing 100,000 meals to be distributed to local hunger relief organizations. Lake County projects also took place at Campagna Academy in Schererville and the Boys and Girls Clubs unit in Gary, among other locations.
Source: Post Tribune