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Volunteer support during Day of Caring at record high

Jon Jonasson, Scott Stephenson and Ryan Munson worked quickly to complete the outside chores during their Day of Caring involvement. Submitted photo

By the huge smiles that framed their faces it was obvious that Ann and Eric Paulsen were more than pleased to welcome United Way Day of Caring volunteers into their West Fargo home on a bright sunshiny day last Thursday afternoon Oct. 10.

The purpose of the annual event is to reach out to seniors to see what projects they need help with and then recruit volunteers to carry out the requests as well as provide companionship for the afternoon.

This was the second year in a row the Paulsen’s had experienced the community gesture which Ann described as “just amazing. It was a great experience the last time and I think it is just a wonderful program. I normally do my own cleaning, but some of this I just can’t do any more so this is a real treat.”

It was just want Ann needed to lift her spirits after taking a nasty fall Wednesday afternoon as she was entering their garage from the house.Karen Huber Ashley Holst prepares supplies necessary to begin cleaning the wooden blinds in the Paulsen home. Karen Huber

Five members of the staff from Evolution 1, a local healthcare software development company, Fargo, turned out in full force to make quick work of the chores Anne had outlined in her request, washing windows and cleaning wooden blinds, ceiling fans and mirrors.

Ann had cleaning buckets and microfiber towels along with an ample supply of paper towels ready to go. Her only special request regarded the window cleaning. “We lived in California for a while and I met a professional window cleaner who used a little bit of Joy soap in his water so I would like you to use that,” she said with a big grin.

Ashley Holst, Jon Jonasson, Ryan Munson, Scott Stephenson and Jodi Junker were happy to oblige making such short order of the work Ann had time to add a few items to their list including a thorough vacuuming, some outside yard clean-up and even washing their car.

Evolution 1 had a second volunteer team out assisting at another senior location which supports their philosophy of helping out in the community whenever they can.

“Our company is a huge United Way supporter and likes to be active in the community,” Holst stated. “It is good to be out of the office on such a beautiful day and enjoying the company of the Paulsen’s.”

When all was said and done there was no doubt the feeling was mutual. Ann was overjoyed by their kindness and consideration telling them “you made me feel like a queen for a day.”

The 22nd annual United Way of Cass-Clay Day of Caring saw a total of 1600 volunteers representing 113 businesses, nonprofit organizations, service clubs, student groups and schools participating this year, up considerably from the 1,365 last year. The volunteers visited the homes of the 389 seniors anxious for the day of help as well as the opportunity it presented for companionship and conversation.

Day of Caring is United Way’s largest event of the year and by far one of the largest volunteer events in the community with over 2,000 individuals involved. In fact, the 2013 version is the largest in United Way history with nearly a 20 percent increase in volunteers.

Marketing and Brand Management Director for United Way of Cass Clay Kristina Hein said everyone involved is appreciative of all the generosity that goes into making the day the success that it is. “United Way of Cass-Clay is humbled by the amount of generous and caring volunteers that step forward to give back to their community each year through our Day of Caring. United Way exists to connect people in our community. Day of Caring is just another example of how we’re connecting people to people and needs to resources. We are proud to connect employees at local businesses with senior citizens who need their help and companionship.”

“On behalf of United Way, I want to thank the volunteers who helped local seniors during Day of Caring this year. We want them to know how much these seniors appreciate their kindness and generosity. While they tell us they appreciate the help with projects, their favorite part is getting to make that connection and have the opportunity to have support and companionship for the afternoon. Just getting the opportunity to spend time with others is so meaningful to many of these seniors who live alone.”