PLATTSBURGH — The smell of fresh paint filled the air inside the United Way of the Adirondack Region building as volunteers in worn jeans and T-shirts painted the walls white in the main lobby and the meeting room.
The fourth-annual Day of Caring brought out about 400 volunteers who took part in numerous efforts around the area, including cleaning up streets, doing yard work and house cleaning for the elderly, building a handicap ramp for a home and sprucing up museums.
“It’s about celebrating volunteerism,” United Way Executive Director John Bernardi said at a press conference, with the painting project going on nearby.
The Day of Caring, organized by the United Way, Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau and Project HELP at SUNY Plattsburgh, aims to get more people involved in community service.
Helping out at the United Way were employees of Glens Falls National Bank and the Sherwin-Williams Paint Stores Group.
“It feels really good to give back,” Sherwin-Williams store manager Jonathan Ketcham said, rewetting his paintbrush.
“The United Way gives back to the community, so we’re giving back to them.”
A food drive included Project Help volunteers going door to door, along with specific drop sites for donations, such as the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts and a few local businesses.
At the press conference, Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru) said the donated canned foods go to families and individuals who are in desperate need of food.
Although most volunteers had their own transportation to project sites, Project HELP brought some students to their designated locations in its van.
“Hopefully, when people see what volunteers are doing today, they will be inspired to find out how to get involved,” SUNY Plattsburgh Assistant Director for Campus Activities Michael Cashman said.
The Babbie Rural and Farm Learning Museum in the Town of Peru benefited from the Day of Caring, as volunteers from Georgia Pacific took part for a third year in a row, among them Mike Kirk, Mike Penfield, Corrine Pulsifer, Brian Graves and his son Logan.
The museum is getting ready to open for the season, and those extra hands helped, a press release said.
“Days like this define the spirit of the North Country,” Cashman said.