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There's still time for you to volunteer for the Day of Caring on May 8

Some people volunteer on a daily or weekly basis. Other people would like to volunteer but fear they don't have the time to make a regular commitment to any one cause.

If you're in that second group of people mark May 8 on your calendar. It's a day just about custom made for you.

You can spend the day making a meaningful contribution to your community without becoming burdened by an ongoing commitment.

May 8 is United Way's "Day of Caring," when community volunteers -- both the ongoing kind and the one-day kind -- come together to help local charities and civic groups complete necessary projects.

"At the core and essence of it, that's what it's about," said Genesee County United Way Director Erik Fix. "You take a day, one day, and you do what you can to give back to your community for a day. Folks want to make a difference in this economy and this is the day to do it."

Last year, 304 Genesee County residents participated in the Day of Caring, which was another new record, and at least that many, if not more will be needed again this year for the nearly 50 projects lined up by the Genesee County United Way.

Many of the projects are much like projects in previous years -- spring garden clean up at UMMC, downtown clean up for the BID, and general clean up at the Office for the Aging -- and while those are important projects, there's some new ones this year that are drawing extra attention.

Chief among them is the installation of new equipment at Kiwanis Park for the new inclusive playground.

Only about 50 volunteers are needed for that project, Fix said, and there's already more demand than spaces.

And since all projects are important, Fix hopes volunteers can get steered to any of the other projects.

That may be building raised bed boxes for the new community garden at the Batavia Youth Bureau, creating a vegetable garden at Eagle Start Housing, fixing bikes for ARC at Adam Miller or helping Habitat for Humanity start a new housing project.

Other choices might be doing work for Genesee ARC, the Town of Bergen, Notre Dame High School, the YMCA and the YWCA, the Gillam Grant Community Center, the Peace Garden, Go Art or the Elba Historical Society.

The range of projects is so broad, every volunteer is likely to be able to step forward and help with something of interest.

"These projects are the ones that agencies don't have the time or manpower to get done," Fix said.

The usual big groups of volunteers, from businesses such as Chapin and civic groups such as Rotary and Kiwanis, have already filled out their volunteer forms, but in the next few weeks, Fix said he expects the smaller groups and single individuals will step forward.

Usually about this time in the process, he said, two or three people who aren't affiliated with a larger organization will say to each other, "hey, let's do this," and they come forward.

The United Way can be reached at (585) 343-8141.

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