Hundreds of people spread throughout Jefferson City on Thursday and Friday to do volunteer work as part of the United Way of Central Missouri's annual Days of Caring.
More than 350 volunteers worked at more than 30 projects at the nonprofit organization's partner agencies.
At the Boys & Girls Club of Jefferson City on Lafayette Street, some volunteers baked cookies for the children to enjoy once they got out of school while others helped clean up outside the facility.
Kathy Crow, Boys & Girls Club resource and development director, said the volunteer groups were willing to do anything asked of them.
"They've separated books and cleaned windows, which are some of the jobs we get around to as best as we can as a staff," Crow said. "We get a lot of things donated to us, which is fantastic, but sometimes it gets overwhelming. To have someone here who can separate it for us is great. They put the books into the proper age groups, and there were many clothes we needed to go through, so it was great to get the help for that."
Among the volunteer group was Ashley Eveler, who works at Brown Printing, which has let employees volunteer during this event for many years.
"There's more than just monetary gifts that you can give to these organizations," Eveler said. "Giving your time is also important."
For the folks at Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association on Swifts Highway, the timing for this year's event couldn't have been better. The agency held a major fundraiser Thursday night, so volunteers Friday helped with the cleanup.
"Once they got done with the cleanup, they started working in our backpack room, where we store clothing, books and school supplies that we put together for kids entering foster care or going to a new foster family," CMFCAA Clients Coordinator Elizabeth Travis said. "Thanks to the work of these volunteers, our staff won't have to do work that could take them away from doing their regular duties."
For Lucas Henderson, who works at Jefferson Bank, volunteering at the association has a special meaning.
"My brother-in-law and his wife are going to be adopting foster children, and when I heard the kids get the backpacks when they go to a new home, I wanted to come here and help," he said.
Henderson said volunteering should be a year-round effort; United Way has a way for people to do that. Last year, the organization launched an online volunteer center at movolunteer.org/unitedwaycemo. The center allows agencies, whether they are United Way partners or not, to connect with potential volunteers.