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Kitsap United Way's 'Day of Caring' draws hundreds
More than 400 volunteers piled into the President's Hall at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds Friday morning to gear up for the 15th annual United Way Day of Caring.
They ate breakfast, received sack lunches and T-shirts and were assigned project sites.
"We had a great setup," United Way of Kitsap County Director of Resources Patricia Hennessy said. "It's organized chaos."
Harrison Medical Center donated about 600 sack lunches while Costco helped serve breakfast, Hennessy said. The extra sack lunches were sent to the Salvation Army.
Sponsored by local business including Harrison and Costco, KPS Health Plans and others, Day of Caring attracts volunteers from all over Kitsap County to clean up the community.
This year, volunteers were sent to 37 project sites, including the Kitsap Humane Society, Fish Park in Poulsbo and Habitat for Humanity.
A group of more than 20 volunteers employees of Haselwood Auto Group and Silverdale Water District worked on Clear Creek Trail near the Dyes Inlet estuary off Bucklin Hill Road.
They cleared Scotch broom, blackberry bushes and ivy, and repainted the exterior walls of the restroom building next to the Interpretive Center, working until 4 p.m.
"It makes me happy that all our employees jump at the opportunity to come out and help," said DeAnna Salmon, a Haselwood Auto employee.
Salmon, who recently moved to Kitsap County, said Haselwood Auto has participated in Day of Caring for seven years, even sponsoring the event in the past.
"This is the biggest turnout we have ever had," she said. "I've always been a big supporter of United Way."
Sid Williams Jr., an employee of the Silverdale Water District, said volunteering for Day of Caring is a big hit at his workplace.
"Normally it's a fight to see who gets to go, there's never a lack of volunteers," he explained. "Everybody gets a chance to be involved."
The water district has participated in Day of Caring for 10 years.
Williams, in his third year as a Day of Caring volunteer, said giving back to the community is important. Last year, he helped at Holly Ridge Park.
"It's nice to do these things, it's rewarding," he said, surveying the Clear Creek scene. "It wouldn't be as nice without the volunteers."
Clear Creek Trail spans about five miles, making maintenance on and around the trail a never-ending job.
"It does help," Clear Creek Task Force member Mary Earl said of the volunteer help. "This is a great group of people."