Volunteers take day off to work

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Chuck Jackson is teaching his son a lesson and doing a good deed.
Jackson and 15-year-old son, John, were among the 100 people who spent Thursday volunteering their time for Lawrence County United Way's Day of Caring.
Day of Caring is a yearly volunteer event that lets employees from area companies take the day off work and spend time cleaning, painting and doing other jobs for United Way agencies.
The Jacksons installed electrical receptacles in a house that the Lawrence County Habitat for Humanity is building on Rock Street in New Castle.
"I'm showing him how to give back to the community by being here," said Jackson, who is a customer service specialist for Penn Power Company in New Castle. Father and son spent last year's Day of Caring splitting wood at Girl Scout Camp Elliot in Volant.
Details: Ten Lawrence County employers sent workers to Day of Caring. They began work around 8:30 a.m. and by 3 p.m. celebrated their accomplishments with a reception at the Sankey Youth Center in New Castle, catered by Giant Eagle.
"It's a great way for [the volunteers] to see their dollars at work. They can go back to their jobs and tell their co-workers how their contributions to the United Way are being spent," said Gayle Young, executive director of Lawrence County United Way.
The chapter kicked off its annual fund-raiser last week. The goal is to raise $720,000 by year's end.
Volunteers say the day was worth the effort and hard work and has become a yearly ritual for some.
"Our community needs all the help it can get. It gives you a good feeling of self-worth to come and help," said Sara Dudash, who was stuffing envelopes at the New Castle City Rescue Mission.
Dudash, a nine-year Day of Caring veteran, works at the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare in New Castle and is the community service coordinator for the United Way.
What volunteers said: Ellen Gardner, a collection agent for Sky Bank, has participated in five Days of Caring.
"I love it. All the people are so wonderful. They are here because they really want to work," she said as she helped install insulation at the Habitat for Humanity house.
It was the first Day of Caring for Kathy McDanel, Susan Harding and Rhonda Scully, who work for McKesson, a drug distribution company in Shenango Township, but they say it won't be the last.
The women spent the day washing and painting walls at the City Rescue Mission.
"It's amazing how much you can get done when you get a group of people together," Scully said.

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