By Wayne Howard - Staff Writer/Lincoln Herald
Each year communities around the world come together to harness the volunteer spirit and improve the conditions in which they live in the United Way Day of Action.
With the pandemic continuing, this year's effort by the United Way of Lincoln County will hope to harness the same volunteer spirit while maintaining efforts to avoid spreading the coronavirus by having a large gathering.
Last year, over a hundred volunteers from more than 50 businesses and organizations participated in the Day of Action creating a community garden for the Oaklawn community and a nature trail and park at the Hesed House of Hope. Key to the effort were contributions from Lowe's of Lincolnton and their Heroes project grant plus sponsorships from Atrium Health, Duke Energy and others. Workers installed four raised beds, a storage unit & picnic tables at the Community Center and a school supply drive was also held to help provide supplies for needy kids for back-to-school. The 2018 Day of Action also involved work at the Oaklawn Community Center.
In 2017, volunteers for the Day of Action worked to improve the Asbury Resource Center, which had been created by the 2016 Day of Action. The ARC served over 4,300 students in Lincoln County this past school year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, with the pandemic making a project requiring multiple volunteers working at a location a potential health hazard, the United Way is asking individuals, clubs, churches and businesses who want to help to hold their own Day of Action, collecting non-perishable food items, hygiene products, school supplies and other supplies for the West Lincoln Resource Center at West Lincoln Middle School. The project, meant to serve the West Lincoln area in much the same way the Asbury Resource Center serves other areas of the county, was begun last Fall and the center officially opened in January--but much of the work that was planned had to be put on hold when the pandemic began. Part of the project was a clothing center that was orginally planned for completion of the distribution center by Easter--but then came the pandemic.
The United Way is teaming up with the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln County Schools, Duke Energy & Publix to collect items for the center. July 28th - 30th has been chosen as the period for the completion of the project. Later on, Christian Ministry of Lincoln County plans to open a satellite office to help individuals in the West Lincoln area without transportation to get to Lincolnton and complete the application process to get crisis assistance.
Whether you hold an event where you work, as a club or other group at one of your meetings, at your church, or in your neighborhood--or just want to help out as an individual, you can take items to the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce office at the corner of E. Main Street and the Courtsquare, where we are told they'll have a bin for contributions.
Kathy Vinzant, United Way Executive Director, said she hopes those who participate will "make a photo and let us know who you so we can thank you by putting pictures of you, your business, etc. on our United Way and Chamber websites."
If you have items you would like picked up, contact Kathy Vinzant at United Way 704-240-8621 or Jim Studdard at the Chamber of Commerce 704-735-3096.