Original Source - Tuscaloosa News
By Angel Coker
With hands covered in flower-print gardening gloves, Mallory Walker scooped up leaves and grass from Holt Elementary’s front lawn into a large black trash bag.
Walker, the performance marketing coordinator at Randall-Reilly publishing, was one of 32 people in her group to volunteer for the United Way of West Alabama Day of Action.
Almost 30 groups from different corporate United Way supporters worked on projects at schools and nonprofit organizations across Tuscaloosa County on Friday as part of the national Day of Action.
According to the United Way website, about 300 communities and about 2.6 million volunteers participated Friday in the national Day of Action, a day for people and organizations to take action to address needs in their communities.
“It’s a national day. It’s a bigger impact when everyone can commit to one day,” said Julie Mann, communications director for United Way of West Alabama. “When everyone volunteers, it makes a larger impact because they can do a lot in a short amount of time.”
Randall-Reilly deployed the largest group of volunteers with about 50 employees providing assistance with landscaping to Holt Elementary, organizing donations at Tuscaloosa Emergency Services and sorting the food pantry and cleaning at the Salvation Army.
Walker’s group trimmed hedges, mowed, pulled weeds, raked and cleaned up at Holt Elementary.
“The school really needed attention on the outside and on the playground,” Walker said. “We want it to look nice. If kids come to school, and they see that their school looks nice, they’re obviously going to put forward an effort to be successful.”
She said Randall-Reilly helps United Way often from taking up donations to volunteering. The publishing company will also host a blood drive for United Way from 9 a.m. to
6 p.m. on July 27 at Randall-Reilly, 3200 Rice Mine Road.
“We just, in general, want to be involved in the community around us,” Walker said. “Most people go to work to put a roof over their head (and) to feed themselves, but we feel like life has a bigger purpose than just going to work and doing our jobs. We go to work, and we make sure to help service the community as well.”
Other businesses and organizations volunteered at nonprofits like Hospice of West Alabama, Caring Days adult day care center and schools, helping with landscaping, organizing, cleaning, painting and other maintenance projects.
Nucor Steel employees worked a landscaping project at the Arc of Tuscaloosa and cleaned up fallen trees at Caring Days on Friday.
Chris Brubeck, maintenance and engineering manager at Nucor, said participating in Day of Action is a great way to build morale among employees and learn about the needs of the community.
“We’re always about continuous improvement for ourselves and the people around us. It extends out beyond us. It’s to the community as well,” Brubeck said. “It’s very important to give back to the community we live in.”