At least 40 local nonprofits got to check off several projects from their to-do lists Wednesday, thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who participated in United Way’s annual Day of Caring. This year 550 businesspeople and students volunteered for the event, more than double last year’s number of volunteers, said Brooke Fisher-Clark, United Way executive director.

Fisher-Clark described the Day of Caring gathering as, “Our biggest volunteer event, and we’re really excited that it keeps growing and gets people engaged and connected with their community.”

People engaged, indeed: Nearly 100 Longview high school students read with children at all of the school district’s elementary schools. The LCC softball team and coaches helped “deep clean” and organize the Highlands Neighborhood Association’s office, garage and grounds. Kelso students cleaned up areas around the high school while working with groups of volunteers from local businesses. Lower Columbia Gardens got help from other business groups with putting in a new garden at Barnes Elementary School, to name just a few of the projects.

And the volunteers worked with a very giving spirit. Progress Center liaison Marie Geisler and nearly two dozen employees from Wilcox & Flegel gave high praise to way they worked on the planned projects and also looked for extra jobs to accomplish. In addition to preserving playground equipment, striping parking slots and patching parking lot potholes, Geisler said they landscaped, fixed gutters, washed windows and bought and planted a new tree.

“As much as we can find and do, we’re doing,” said company president Aaron Wilcox.

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