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Volunteers flood DeKalb area for Day of Caring

DeKALB - Kishwaukee United Way's Day of Caring served as a lesson in giving back for more people than just the volunteers.

"It's good for our kids to see people volunteering," said De Austin, executive director of Sycamore Child Care, 1415 W. Stonehenge Drive. "It's kind of a social assignment for them."

Kishwaukee United Way held the 10th annual Day of Caring on Thursday, which served the DeKalb community through volunteer projects. Kishwaukee United Way is based out of DeKalb and works to give back to the community through volunteering, fundraising and more.

Volunteers helped complete more than 40 projects. At Sycamore Child Care, volunteers helped build a children's garden and paint a classroom.

"It's great to be a part of this community effort," Austin said. 

Day of Caring organizers arrange groups of volunteers from businesses, faith communities, schools and more to assist non-profit agencies that need help with projects. Thursday's event enlisted the help of more than 300 volunteers.

Dawn Littlefield, Kishwaukee United Way executive director, said the biggest challenge of the day was some reassigning of projects after Wednesday's rain. Some gardening projects were able to continue and volunteer turnout was not affected, Littlefield said.

"This is our biggest year," Littlefield said. "There was also some excitement about it being the 10th anniversary."

Volunteers from Best Buy, 2074 Sycamore Road, U.S. Cellular and the middle school youth group of  E-Free Church, 150 Bethany Road, pulled weeds at the DeKalb Area Women's Center, 1021 State St. The Women's Center was incorporated to advocate for women and related issues, and also serves as a museum as it is a former Finnish Temperance Society.

Anna Marie Coveny, director of the DeKalb Area Women's Center, was grateful for the extra help.

"Everything and anything that happens here is based on volunteers," Coveny said. "There are so many people here I haven't met before but they are helping us survive."

Kyle White, E-Free Church youth pastor, saw the day as an opportunity for his group to try something new. Boys from the youth group volunteered at the Women's Center, while the girls from the group worked at the food pantry of Huntley Middle School, 1515 S. Fourth St.

"It's a way to get them out of the building," White said. "It's a good way to get the kids involved in their community."

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