This year's Day of Caring and kick-off breakfast sponsored by the United Way of Putnam County is pairing up with an annual DePauw University volunteer project to share resources and bridge gaps between students and community members.
Incoming DePauw freshmen involved in a campus-wide volunteer event will also join community members at the annual Day of Caring in the university's annual Service Plunge put on by DePauw's Office of Civic, Global and Professional Opportunities (formerly Hartman House).
The Service Plunge is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28 at the Walden Inn Social Space.
Executive Director of United Way of Putnam County David English said the United Way is looking more toward developing a partnership with DePauw.
Volunteers for the Day of Caring are asked to gather at 8 a.m. Friday, Aug. 27 at the Inn at DePauw for the annual event, where they will be given an explanation of Day of Caring and the importance of giving back to the community through service.
This year's Kick-Off Breakfast speaker is Bob Hammel, a former sports editor and writer, author and United Way Co-Chair of the United Way of Huntington.
At 9 a.m. all volunteers will then leave the Inn and report to the organization of their choice and work on projects.
"It's kind of a neat concept. I'd love to see 200 people disperse throughout the county to volunteer," English said.
Jessie Weasner, assistant director of the Civic, Global and Professional Opportunities office at DePauw, said the campus-community partnership with the United Way, while not necessarily anything new, is beneficial to both organizations because they are doing the same thing.
"This year we decided it would be a little less work for both of us and less of a time commitment if we worked together," she said. "Realizing that we're having these two large events near the same day made sense."
Weasner said so far 85 students have registered for the Service Plunge and is anticipating capping registration to 125 participants.
"Given that school hasn't started yet, that's a good number," she said.
Potential sites include helping at the DePauw University Nature Park, Peace Lutheran School, Putnam County Humane Society, Opportunity Housing and the Red Cross, she said.
English said businesses, employee groups from local corporations, church groups, youth groups, civic and philanthropic groups and individuals can also participate in the event, which serves as a kick-off to the United Way's annual fundraising campaign.
English said last year the United Way exceeded its campaign goal, but fell about 10 percent short of making the $175,000 goal, which meant funding cuts for United Way partner agencies.
"Maybe we challenged ourselves too much or the economy caught up with us," English said.
English attributed the shortfall not to a decrease in individual and corporate donors but to a decrease in what these individuals were able to contribute.
"It's the United Way of Putnam County. It's only as strong as the county wants us to be," he said.
It has partnerships with 16 youth league sports teams, the Deer Meadow Elementary PTO Playground Project and Putnam County 4-H.
"We're grateful for every dollar that's given," he said.
Have an idea for a project or want to get involved in the Day of Caring? Contact English at the United Way at 653-5638 or email@example.com or Weasner at the Office of Civic, Global and Professional Opportunities at 658-4355 or firstname.lastname@example.org