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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Day of Caring sends hundreds of volunteers across Greater Nashua

By TINA FORBES

Staff Writer

NASHUA - The 25th annual United Way of Greater Nashua's "Living United" Day of Caring hit the ground running Wednesday with loads of nonperishable food and other donations arriving before 8:30 a.m. at its signature "Stuff a UPS Truck" event.

"It's going great. It's only the beginning and some of the shelves are already full, and we'll be here until 5 p.m.," Eriikka Kopycinski, a longtime UPS employee and United Way leadership donor, said Wednesday morning. ...

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NASHUA - The 25th annual United Way of Greater Nashua's "Living United" Day of Caring hit the ground running Wednesday with loads of nonperishable food and other donations arriving before 8:30 a.m. at its signature "Stuff a UPS Truck" event.

"It's going great. It's only the beginning and some of the shelves are already full, and we'll be here until 5 p.m.," Eriikka Kopycinski, a longtime UPS employee and United Way leadership donor, said Wednesday morning.

Along with retired UPS colleague Dawna Baxter, Kopycinski staffed the UPS truck at the St. Phillips Greek Orthodox Church for the Day of Caring event, something they have done together for the past eight years. Kopycinski said donations usually don't pile up so quickly, but fellow volunteers were eager to help.

"We had networking done with all the organizations involved this year to bring nonperishables, and a lot of people obliged," she said.

Donations included the nonperishable food items, toiletries and diapers, which will be shared with local food pantries and shelters, Marguerite's Place, Mary's House, The Front Door Agency and Bridges. Donors will be entered into a drawing for one of several $50 American Express gift cards or a pair of Beats headphones.

Aside from collecting donations for those in need across Greater Nashua, the Day of Caring includes 41 service project to be completed by more than 200 volunteers. The volunteers split into teams and spread out across the Greater Nashua community to complete projects such as delivering groceries to senior citizens, and painting and performing office work for local organizations.

Along the Heritage Rail Trail in central Nashua Wednesday morning, Ethan Smith said he was expecting about 30 volunteers from various businesses and Great American Downtown to help expand the Gate City Community Garden for the Day of Caring.

"We have some great volunteers digging 3-foot holes for posts, and once the posts go up, we'll be able to get the fencing on," Smith said. While the entire expansion project won't be completed that day, it's a first step to expanding the popular city garden.

Smith credited Great American Downtown Director Paul Shea for lining up the project, saying, "I can't give that guy enough gratitude."

Sue McHugh, co-chair for the Day of Caring, has been a part of the event since 1996, several years after the signature Day of Caring launched.

"This is the 25th Day of Caring. It's amazing. Over the years, we have had over 40,000 volunteer hours based on the number of volunteers and an eight-hour day," McHugh said, adding that the group of volunteers included Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess, who also serves on the board at the United Way, and Father Alex Chetsas from St. Philip Church.

"I would like to thank all the volunteers, and the committee - everyone who put this together. It's a lot of work, but many hands make light work," she said.

More information on the United Way of Greater Nashua can be found online at www.united waynashua.org.

Tina Forbes can be reached at 594- 6402, tforbes@nashuatelegraph. com or @Telegraph_TinaF.