Rick Rankin and St. Mary's School students perform landscaping work at the OnTrack Home Program, part of the United Way of Jackson County's Day of Caring. Photo by Amy Belkin - Amy Belkin

Volunteers pitch in for nonprofits

Had the 10 Jackson County nonprofit agencies receiving facility maintenance work from more than 300 United Way volunteers Saturday relied on hired help, it would have cost them more than $60,000 in collective materials and labor.

Even so, the United Way of Jackson County volunteer work force took on the job without pay. Using a significant amount of donated materials, they tackled a variety of landscaping, construction and painting projects at numerous local nonprofit facilities Saturday during the 16th Annual Day of Caring.

They also completed each project.

"Most nonprofits don't have that kind of money in their budget to cover those types of improvements," said United Way of Jackson County executive director Dee Anne Everson. "It'd be significant because of the labor price."

Everson said it was a testament to people's generosity, even during tough economic times.

"I'm never surprised by the generosity of the people that give their Saturday," she said. "I believe in the inherent generosity of people. People want to help people, especially when times are tough."

Nonprofit facilities in the effort included the OnTrack building, Phoenix Counseling Center, Dunn House, Living Opportunities, Roots and Wings, the American Red Cross and the Addictions Recovery Center.

The projects included picnic table, shed and fence construction by volunteers from Rogue Valley businesses and organizations, including the Rogue Creamery, Ashland Fire and Rescue and Rogue Federal Credit Union. Local branches of national chains such as Wells Fargo, US Bank and Target also were present, along with students from St. Mary's and Medford high schools. Students stained and assembled picnic table pieces they had built in shop class at the ARC site and focused on landscaping and painting at OnTrack.

"I think any time the community can pull together as volunteers, you get so much more accomplished," said Addictions Recovery Center work site leader Kerrie Davis. "It's a huge effort. We got everything done we wanted to get done."

Ryan Pfeil is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach him at 541-776-4468 or email

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