Thousands of volunteers from around the county gathered in the cold early morning Thursday to have breakfast before separating for numerous service projects around Utah Valley as part of the annual United Way of Utah County’s Day of Caring.

The Day of Caring brought together more than 35 companies and their employees to use their talents in giving service.

For one project, more than 20 volunteers from Nestle/Stouffer in Springville helped landscape and spruce up Independence High School in Provo.

For Charlie Hansen, an employee at Nestle, the Day of Caring is just a part of his yearly volunteerism.

“Last year I helped at the Children’s Justice Center,” Hansen said. “I like doing it and it’s worthwhile to see the faces of the recipients.”

Hansen’s coworker Mark Calvin said, “It’s fun to work with co-workers in an environment of helping people.”

Mark O’Dell, also with Nestle, said, “It’s neat to see the community come together and work as one.”

Volunteers served at schools across the county, nonprofit agencies and other community organizations. More than 40 service projects were carried out.

Some groups, like the Orem Senior Friendship Center patrons, find their own service projects and ways to serve during the annual Day of Caring. The senior center cleaned windows, landscaped and worked on other projects at 99-year-old Nada Stevenson’s Orem home.

“Nada hasn’t been this happy in years,” said Faye Howard, Stevenson’s daughter.

“At United Way, we are all about children and the people who surround them,” said Bill Hulterstrom, CEO. “At Day of Caring, these great volunteers help to strengthen United Way’s efforts to build youth resiliency through EveryDay Strong, support early childhood education through EveryDay Learners and increase family financial self-sufficiency through EveryDay Support.”

Jeffrey Stark participated in the Day of Caring for the second time this year and worked at the Community Action Services and Food Bank with about 40 of his co-workers from Geomni, a Verisk Enterprise.

“This is my first time,” said Amanda Smith, with Geomni. “I like that our company goes out there and helps in the community. We work so much, it’s nice to take time to serve.”

According to Hulterstrom, with 40 projects and more than 2,000 volunteers, this makes United Way of Utah County’s Day of Caring one of the biggest service events the organization has seen.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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