From October 21 through October 24, United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region mobilized nearly 150 dedicated and hardworking volunteers to work on eight community projects for the 25th annual Make A Difference Day, a world-wide day of service held in order for members of the community to volunteer at their local nonprofit organizations. The volunteers contributed a total of 730 hours for a total estimated economic impact of $19,607.80.
Aside from the opportunity to lend a helping hand, Make A Difference Day volunteers learn new skills that are applicable to everyday life, grasp how to work as a team, and increase their overall awareness of need in their community.
“Through the help of these incredible volunteers, United Way was able to host another Make A Difference Day and assist nonprofits in the rewarding work they do every day,” incredible stated Jeannie Montano, President & CEO of United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region.
Volunteers participated in projects at Dress For Success Dutchess County, Elant, Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, Habitat for Humanity Dutchess County, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh, Hudson River Housing, The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, and the Poughkeepsie Farm Project. Many local companies and organizations dedicated their time to these various projects, including Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., Cornerstone Family Healthcare, Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, FLUOR, Hannaford Supermarkets, Family Services Inc., IBM Corporation, Leadership Orange, Marist College, Mental Health America of Dutchess County, New Horizons Resources Inc., People’s United Bank, Rhinebeck Bank, and TD Bank.
“I was so impressed with the Dress for Success’ staff and their enthusiasm towards the volunteers,” said Make A Difference Day participant and United Way intern Daniella Garcia, a Marist College student. “The representatives of Dress for Success, part of Community Action Partnership for Dutchess County, were so happy with the outcome of the project and so passionate about the work that they accomplish— it was inspiring.”
Anthony Longo, a Marist College student and United Way intern, volunteered with Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County and shared his positive experience as well. “The project was very eventful because we had to combat the rain. This allowed us to work as a team and effectively use our time management skills.” Longo also brought five of his fraternity brothers to assist with the project, granting Habitat even more enthusiastic volunteers. “Though the experience was a challenge, it was extremely rewarding to see the finished product and see how we made an impact in our community.”
United Way’s Community Impact Manager Melissa Clark has been involved with this project for many years and with each event gets more inspired by the work that is done. “I was humbled to see so many United Way supporters and advocates come together for a long weekend of volunteering. Every year, we try to engage additional organizations and nonprofit organizations. This year at Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, the 20 volunteers from FLUOR and Leadership Orange sorted a record number of 11,279 pounds of food. Each one of us, working together really can ‘Make A Difference’ in our community.”
At the close of one successful volunteer event, another is always just around the corner! Anyone who’s interested in United Way’s next Day of Action, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service, may sign up through United Way’s volunteer portal at volunteer.uwdor.org or contact Melissa Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-471-1900 ext. 3128.