Giving spirit helps local agencies

Thirty-two local businesses joined for an annual Day of Caring breakfast.
BOARDMAN -- Youngstown/Mahoning Valley United Way officials believe the spirit of caring and giving triggered by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will carry over to the 2001 UW campaign and enable it to raise $3,250,000 to help area residents in need.
"We have not backed off our goal," Garry Mrozek, campaign chairman, said at Thursday's fourth annual Day of Caring breakfast at Antone's Banquet Center.
The 2001 UW campaign goal is slightly more than the $3,202,000 raised by the 2000 UW campaign.
On Thursday, about 280 volunteers in teams from 32 area businesses worked on projects at 23 United Way agencies. The projects included: Forum Health volunteers painting and cleaning a fire-damaged house for American Red Cross clients; Packer Thomas employees building a storage shed for Goodwill Industries; and Anthem Blue Cross & amp; Blue Shield volunteers landscaping and painting at the homes of two clients of the Visiting Nurse Association.
Not only does the Day of Caring help UW agencies, but it provides UW volunteers an opportunity to see first-hand how these agencies meet the needs of the community, said Mrozek, senior vice president of corporate banking for National City Bank.
Helping others: Ron Raubenstraw, Day of Caring chairman, said he learned about the good feelings of volunteerism when he was 8 or 9 years old and his parents "got my butt off the couch" and made him mow an elderly neighbor's lawn.
"I'm so proud to be here today because you get it too," he told Day of Caring volunteers at the breakfast.
Because of the Sept. 11 tragedy, "this country has opened up its heart. I heard some concerns about money leaving the area for New York, but I think that was a lot of new money," Raubenstraw said.
"From what I see, the community 'gets it' [about volunteering and giving] now. We have to take care of people around us" as well as the people in New York, he said.
Many thanks: Raubenstraw thanked the Day of Caring volunteers for their commitment to the community. He also thanked sponsors who donated to the event, Compco Industries, Consumers Ohio Water Co., Holiday Inn of Boardman, Humility of Mary Health Partners, National City and Lamar Advertising.
United Way is a significant financial supporter of the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, which nationally, are leading the disaster relief efforts, he said.
Lynn Cavalier, co-chairman of the Pacesetter Campaign, reported that 54 of 62 pacesetter companies have completed their campaigns for a total of $685,279 toward the pacesetter goal of $925,000.
Youngstown/Mahoning Valley United Way helps fund 31 service agencies.

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