September 19, 2013 in Washington Voices

Hundreds of volunteers gather to help the community

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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From left, Kate Burke, Connor Otheim and Josh Allan load a wheelbarrow to move soil at the Northeast Community Center garden on Sept. 12, as part of the United Way Day of Action, a volunteer effort by local businesses and service groups.
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For more information about Spokane County United Way and how to get involved visit: unitedwayspokane.org

A hot and sunny morning welcomed hundreds of United Way Day of Action volunteers to the Northeast Community Center on Sept. 12. Janice Marich, vice president of community relations at Spokane County United Way, had her hands full helping everyone find their spot on the sprawling community center campus, nearby Shaw Middle School and other locations.

“We have way more than 400 volunteers here today,” Marich said. “This is also our campaign kickoff day.”

A group of volunteers was staffing a supply drive near an entrance to the community center, collecting everything from warm winter clothing to school supplies, toiletries and diapers. More than 60 projects had been identified and outlined before the volunteers arrived.

The day’s volunteers came from more than 30 local companies.

“United Way is about getting the people in the companies out here and getting things done in our community,” Marich said.

Camerina Zorrozua, a lawyer with Maxey Law Offices, was laminating children’s books.

“I’m just the one person from my office,” Zorrozua said, “and I just said I’d do whatever they needed me to do.” Last year, she washed windows.

Helping with the lamination was Kevin Berkompas, who retired and recently moved back to Spokane with his family.

“We wanted to get involved in the community, and United Way was a good match for that,” Berkompas said. “They offered me two or three choices of things to do and I just filled this spot.”

Down the hallway other volunteers were reading books in the Head Start classroom, and outside, teams of volunteers were picking up trash, weeding, painting and organizing.

Some of the day’s projects were off campus – including the community garden project that kept a group of staff from Moss Adams LLP busy digging and hauling dirt.

The community garden is on the southwest corner of Rypien Field, a couple of blocks away, and gardeners watched as the volunteers got started.

Chad Holzer organized the Moss Adams group and said the company has been involved with United Way for decades.

Holzer said they invite accounting students from Eastern Washington University, Whitworth University and Gonzaga University to join Moss Adams on service days.

“It allows us to get to know the students a little bit and they get to meet us,” Holzer said. “We want to hire people who are active in the community.”

The garden beds constructed by the Moss Adams group will be used to grow flowers to attract bees and other pollinators, Holzer said.


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