Nearly 1,100 volunteers from around the community put on their work gloves, picked up tools, gardening implements and paint brushes and headed out Thursday for the 20th annual United Way of Allen County Day of Caring.
Teams from more than 60 local businesses, organizations and unions worked on more than 70 service projects throughout the Fort Wayne area. NIPSCO is the signature sponsor for this year's Day of Caring.
The day started with breakfast at Headwaters Park West at 7:30 a.m. During the breakfast, volunteers learned about the service projects and how they impact the area as well as about the work of United Way of Allen County.
The Day of Caring had a LIVE UNITED theme this year: everyone working together to build a better community. Projects included cleaning, painting and landscaping at nonprofit agencies; private residences, coordinated through NeighborLink; and childcare centers, after-school youth program sites and schools.
At the new Urban League charter school on South Hanna, 26 volunteers from GE and nine of their family members were painting, varnishing railings, building bookshelves, replacing seats in the gymnasium and moving furniture around.
On the stairway to the gym, GE employee David Welter was applying a coat of polyurethane. Welter said he had sanded down the railing and would put a total of two coats on before the day was over. On the staircase across from him was Jim Morman, doing exactly the same thing. Downstairs in a classroom, Jim Scott was cutting pieces of wood for a bookcase with some help from GE employees David Smith and Tom Grafton.
In the gym, Dean Manno, a summer intern, was painting the stage with Abby Ulman. Manno said Thursday was the last day of his summer internship and he was enjoying lending a hand.