By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune
---- — After receiving just one project proposal approaching the April deadline, the Live United Day Committee ended up with 68 projects to complete for the 2013 Live United Day on Sept. 20.
The annual event brings more than 3,000 volunteers together each year to complete projects to benefit the community. Last year there were 75 projects and 35 proposals.
This year’s “day of action” is set to kick off at 9 a.m. at Revolution Community Church, 3324 E. Market St.
Lita Rouser, director of impact strategies and community investment for United Way of Cass County, said she was pleased with the number of projects planned because like the volunteers, they come from throughout Cass County.
Laptops will be available at the kickoff so volunteers will be able to register the day of the event. It should take less than 5 minutes, she said.
Most of the school systems are also involved and students pitch in where they can volunteer, Rouser said.
Three wheelchair ramps; trails at Ivy Tech, France Park, the Panhandle Pathway and the Berry Patch; and a new woodshed for a woman in Twelve Mile are all on the docket to be built.
Other projects include some special needs playground equipment at Thompson Elementary and installation of new flooring at Emmaus Mission Center.
“It’s a remarkable community effort,” Rouser said. “We’re lucky to be able to facilitate it all. We could never do this if we didn’t get people coming together.”
One of the projects last year was the installation of playground equipment at Fairview Elementary. Chris Hess, principal at Fairview, recalled the collaboration between volunteers, students and teachers to make the project a reality. The staff provided food and water for the volunteers and the students made signs to put in the school windows by the playground, Hess said.
Hess said volunteers seemed happy to donate time especially as they saw students’ faces light up.
“I think they (volunteers) got just as much out of it,” Hess said. “It’s a great lesson to teach our kids to give back to their community.”
There will also be a community health fair again this year where people who attend will receive a free cholesterol panel and blood and glucose measuring, Rouser said.
About 35 vendors will accompany an American Red Cross blood drive from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The first 50 people who visit will receive a gift. The health fair will take place at Revolution Community Church and coincide with the campaign kickoff.
“The best thing any of us can do to help ourselves is to help someone else,” Rouser said. “There is no greater feeling than lifting someone else higher than they imagined they could be.”
If you go: WHAT: Live United Day WHEN: 9 a.m. Sept. 20 WHERE: The day kicks off at Revolution Community Church, 3324 E. Market St., before spreading throughout Cass County INFO: Visit unitedwayofcasscounty.org or call 574-753-3533