By Mike De Felice
Special to Kitsap Daily News
PORT ORCHARD – Volunteerism is returning to Kitsap County in a big way.
United Way’s Day of Caring on Friday, June 25 gives residents the opportunity to show their civic spirit and participate in a wide array of community improvement activities throughout the county. The annual event returns following a forced hiatus last year due to COVID.
Day of Caring is a visible way to lend a hand in the community while making memories with friends, family and co-workers, according to organizers.
“It’s a time where everyone can come together for a community-wide volunteer blitz. It’s a great way to build community. And it’s a really fun day with lots of family aspects,” said Tamra Ingwaldson, director of resource development at United Way of Kitsap County.
Businesses, churches, sports teams and families are encouraged to use the day as a team-building event, she added. At least 15 volunteer activities, many of which are family-friendly, will be part of this year’s Day of Caring. Projects range from clearing walking trials and beautifying city streets to restoring habitat for salmon and assisting at a food bank.
Here is a sampling of events:
Banner Forest trail brushing
Trails will be brushed back to allow for community use. Participants are asked to bring gloves, water and tools appropriate for cutting back vegetation encroaching onto the trail system. The minimum age to sign up is 10 years.
Burley Creek restoration
Help restore critical habitat for salmon along Burley Creek. Work will include using tools like a shovel or rake to dig up blackberry and English Ivy. The minimum age to sign up is 16.
Brighten and beautify 6th Street Clinic
Garden and beautify the grounds at Peninsula Community Health Services’ Kitsap clinic in Bremerton. Weeding, planting, sweeping and mulching will be among the tasks. The project, open to those 21 and older, is aimed at landscaping the property to make it more inviting to visitors. Volunteers are asked to bring their own gardening tools and gloves.
Central Kitsap Food Bank
Volunteers will roll up their sleeves and help prepare bulk food products to be distributed to individual families. The minimum age for participation is 16.
The lingering effects of the pandemic will limit the scope of the annual event.
“We are doing a scaled-back version. We encouraged those projects to take place outside, and if held indoors, asked that there be in well-ventilated areas,” Ingwaldson said.
Organizers envision 200 volunteers signing up for the Day of Caring activities. Pre-COVID, the event attracted between 400 to 600 participants, Ingwaldson said. Unlike in past years where all participants gathered for a rally, this year volunteers will head straight to their work locations.
Volunteers will be awarded a t-shirt and be provided a boxed lunch.
Kitsap Credit Union is the primary sponsor for the 27th annual Day of Caring. Other main sponsors are Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and the Suquamish Tribe Foundation.
To learn about all of the volunteer projects and to sign up for a Day of Caring event, contact Ingwaldson at email@example.com.