CH@T: United Way Day of Service set to boost volunteerism, kick off campaign

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Last year's United Way Day of Service event had more than 100 volunteers registered to volunteer. Pictured here, from left, are volunteers Wyatt Luna, Elizabeth Colebrook, Joy Roberts and Daniel Hernandez.
Last year's United Way Day of Service event had more than 100 volunteers registered to volunteer. Pictured here, from left, are volunteers Wyatt Luna, Elizabeth Colebrook, Joy Roberts and Daniel Hernandez.

The United Way’s annual “Day of Service” is set for Sept. 15 in Chatham County. This week, we spoke with Chatham’s United Way team — Executive Director Katie Childs, Finance Officer/Volunteer Center Coordinator Alane Coore and Outreach Coordinator Shelley Smith — about Day of Service and how local individuals and organizations can get involved.

Why is the “Day of Service” so important to the United Way — and to the Chatham community?

The Day of Service is so important to United Way for a few key reasons:

1. During the COVID pandemic our nonprofit community has seen a decrease in volunteers. As everyone is still reeling from impacts of COVID this feels like something we, as an organization and a community, can make an impact on pretty immediately.

2. The DOS kicks off our annual fundraising campaign. It is important to have a public kick-off because we have a big goal this year. Last year the agencies requested more than United Way had to allocate, so everyone needs the UW Campaign to be successful — not just us.

3. One of United Way’s key roles in this community is “convener.” We are the ones who work to connect businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and volunteers. This is a really tangible example of that.

It’s set for Sept. 15. What’s going to happen that day — and what kind of lead-up activity will also occur?

In the few days leading up to the Day of Service, each volunteer will receive an email with details from their project site. Then, on Sept. 15, each volunteer will report to their site at the designated time and provide the hands and heart needed to complete their project. Many projects will run at the same time. Whether you are in Pittsboro or Siler City, just look around on the 15th and you will see your community being improved.

Leading up to the Day of Service there is one project that is accepting contactless donations of school supplies to benefit Communities In Schools. Donations can be placed in boxes outside of the main entrance to Primrose School of Chapel Hill at Briar Chapel Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Primrose School is located at 81 Falling Springs Drive in Chapel Hill.

The Day of Service is a lot about volunteering — how are you set for volunteers and helpers for this year?

The Day of Service has been welcomed by the community so far! Projects are filling up, but there is still plenty of room to participate. We will keep our website updated as projects begin to reach capacity ( We do expect most projects to fill up before the Day of Service!

Is there still time for organizations to submit projects?

Yes! As COVID cases rise, some of our projects have capped the number of volunteers they are able to host. Because of this, we are happily accepting additional projects that can provide a safe, socially distant and responsible environment for volunteers.

You’ve set a fundraising goal of $1,500 for Day of Service that will go toward your annual impact fund. How can people give?

To donate to the Day of Service fundraiser, visit and click on the orange button at the bottom of the service project list. We will also be positing the link on social media and our Facebook event leading up to the event.

So ... what happens after Sept. 15?

The Day of Service has been celebrated by United Ways across the world for many years, and last year, amidst the pandemic and uncertainty, UWCC decided it was time to establish the Day of Service here in Chatham. Now that we are planning our second Day of Service, we have seen more volunteer interest this year compared to last, and we expect this momentum to grow as the Day of Service becomes an annual fixture in our community. UWCC is doing more in Chatham than ever before, and we hope to gain long-term momentum and support of United Way through the Day of Service, participation in the allocation process as a program evaluator, and ultimately through donations to our annual campaign that supports nonprofit program funding in Chatham.



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