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Showing the Spirit - Holiday Gifts and Food Assistance

Why are we talking about the holidays in October?

Because October is the month when local organizations take applications from families needing some help with gifts or food for the holidays.

Every year, our United Way brings together the primary local organizations who offer help during the holidays so that all can coordinate efforts and share information. We want everyone in need to have the opportunity to receive some holiday cheer and also to be certain that we do not duplicate efforts. It would not be fair for one family to receive assistance from multiple organizations while another family ended up with very little due to an organization’s stretched resources. If your church or civic organization wants to assist families, we encourage you to contact Love Inc. first at 434.977.7777 so that they can check against the names on the master list.

Here is the flyer listing all the local organizations and their sign up periods. All sign ups begin in October; some last a week, some a month. Please share this information with anyone you feel could use a little extra help this year. As Major Melinda Johnson of the Salvation Army has noted, they help so that families with limited means don’t spend their money on gifts and not have enough left to pay their bills. That fits in nicely with our Self-Sufficiency focus.

In addition, if you are fortunate enough to be able to help, please contact the organization of your choice and volunteer to adopt a family or individual. Many also need volunteers to help behind the scenes. Stay tuned for more holiday volunteer opportunities from our United Way Volunteer Center.

Anyone can contact our United Way Information and Referral Center at 434-972.1703 for more information.


Day of Caring Means Local Impact

The numbers are in, but they don’t tell the whole story of our United Way Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring on September 18:

DoC LOGOforWeb2300+ Volunteers

230 projects at 104 local nonprofit agencies and schools

Employees from 60 local businesses participating

A total value of $303,000 in donated labor

All in one beautiful, uplifting day of community spirit.


Here’s more:

5 schools had maps or sundials painted on playgrounds or entranceways.

8 playgrounds at schools and one homeless shelter are cleaned, painted and mulched.

happy DOC painters for web8 hiking/nature trails are cleared.

7 school libraries or book rooms are newly organized.

Dozens of rooms at nonprofits and schools are freshly painted.

Two carnivals were held – one for seniors and preschoolers and one for adults with disabilities.

Numerous gardens are weeded, planted, mulched and bordered.

246 children at the UVA Children’s Hospital will receive handmade blankets

Kindergarten boxes for webChildren in foster care will have personal care kits and suitcases.

Senior citizens in Scottsville loved having a prom.

Children entering kindergarten in Charlottesville City Schools next year will receive learning activity boxes to help them be ready for school.


And much more.

Our volunteers eagerly spread out in Charlottesville and Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties to help their neighbors through the nonprofit agencies that serve them. The weather was perfect, and the breakfast rally at Albemarle Square got everyone in the spirit of the day through message and song - and food!

If you missed participating this year, stay tuned. We are hoping to bring you many more opportunities to volunteer alongside your coworkers and neighbors in the coming year. Please subscribe to this blog by simply entering your email in the form to the right side to receive our latest news.

Community engagement for webTHANK YOU to:

State Farm Insurance for sponsoring our breakfast

NewsRadio 1070 WINA for their support and broadcast

Charlottesville Newsplex for their television sponsorship

Dumbarton Properties for the use of Albemarle Square

FDS Tents

Photographer Jim Carpenter of Gitchell’s Studio

Raising Cane’s for the lunch at the United Way office

Albemarle County Police for the use of their traffic cones for the rally


Toy cleaner DOC for webLink to photos from the day - please send us your links!


United Way Favorites


UVA Foundation

Building Bridges


Posted by: Kim Connolly

Last Minute Day of Caring Prep

DOC three volsIn just one week, we’ll celebrate the 22nd United Way Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring. With over 2,300 volunteers registered again this year, we’re expecting another day of significant impact and generosity in our community! As we’re heading into our biggest event of the year next week, there are ways that you can prepare for a successful and meaningful day.


Team leaders and nonprofit project coordinators should be sure to be on the same page with parking, a backup plan for inclement weather, whether meals will be provided, what time volunteers should arrive, who will provide supplies and more. Check out the complete list of topics to cover prior to the United Way Day of Caring.


Be sure to regularly communicate with your team going into next week. Encourage teammates to come to the Kick-Off Breakfast Rally, talk about the appropriate clothes to wear and ensure that everyone knows when and where to arrive. Print a copy of the Sign In Sheet that will be emailed to you this week and bring it along with you to the project.


DOC vols at school playgroundIt’s important to just take a few moments to make sure that you’re prepared, that your team knows what to expect, and that your nonprofit has supplies ready to go for next week. A few extra minutes of preparation will help ensure that your volunteers walk away feeling accomplished, connected, and wanting to continue to volunteer throughout the year!


Posted by: Jessica Snyder, United Way Volunteer Center Director

Reflection and Vision in our Annual Report

An organization's annual report provides an opportunity to reflect on the past year's accomplisments and challenges, as well as to share a vision. We are proud of the accomplishments we are able to report for the past year (our fiscal year runs July 1 - June 30.)

Please click on the cover image to see a digital version.

Cover image 2013 annual report


Posted by: Kim Connolly

Countdown to Day of Caring - Is Your Team Ready?

The countdown is on! We’re four weeks away from the 22nd United Way Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring. We hope that you are as excited as we are to kick off another year and to join in with thousands of volunteers making a huge impact in just one day!



DOC 2012 team for webNow is the time to make final preparations for your volunteer teams and your nonprofits and schools. Does your team have t-shirts? Do you have all of the supplies needed at your nonprofit or school for the volunteers coming in just a few weeks? Be sure to stay in communication with the Team Leaders and Project Coordinators as the event draws near.







DOC 2012 for webAlso, now is the time to make plans to join us at the Kick-Off Breakfast Rally sponsored by State Farm. Share the details on the breakfast with your team and try to make plans to attend for great food, an exciting atmosphere, and a chance to get a picture of your team by a professional photographer! The breakfast rally will take place again at Albemarle Square Shopping Center at 7:30AM on September 18.





As you make final preparations for a successful and meaningful United Way Day of Caring, be sure to submit your volunteer names in this format by September 4. We look forward to sharing in another special year with you all as we celebrate 22 years of making a difference in the Charlottesville area!


Posted by: Jessica Snyder

Let's Get Moving!

Walk. Bike. Dance. Play. 30 minutes every day.

That is the tag line of our local Move2Health campaign. We know there is a national obesity epidemic, but sometimes we need to hear statistics from closer to home:

  • Nearly 28% of adults in the Thomas Jefferson Health District (The City of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and Nelson counties) are obese.
  • According to the Community Action on Obesity, in 2011, 37% of fifth graders in Charlottesville and Albemarle public schools were overweight or obese.
  • In Louisa County, 30% of adults report no leisure time physical activity; the other localities are not that far behind.

Obesity can lead to many other health issues:

  • Move2Health-Logo-with-sloganDiabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnea

Need more convincing? Watch the video The Obesity Epidemic, from the Centers for Disease Control.

The time has come to do something. Our community partners in the Move2Health campaign wisely decided to encourage small behavioral changes as a first step.

It is simple: move 30 minutes a day, five days a week. You don’t need to join a gym or start running 5K races. It can be as simple as working in your yard or going to the playground with your kids and not sitting on the bench, but moving around with them. If you are at work, plan a walking meeting rather than having a coffee sitting at a table. Take your dog for a long walk. Go dancing.

It gets better: we all like company. Challenge your co-workers, family members, church members, school clubs and so on to join you. Register yourself and identify your organization on the Move2Health website. There, you can log your personal minutes and see how you are doing. You can also see how your organization is doing as well as the minutes of the entire community. The goal is 30 million minutes for our community by December 31.

Come to Fridays After Five on Charlottesville’s downtown mall on September 6. University of Virginia Head Baseball Coach Brian O’Connor, chair of our local Move2Health campaign, will be there, as well as demonstrations of various ways to move by local organizations. You can register on the spot and start logging your minutes. (Don’t worry - your information is confidential – you will only be able to see an organization’s total minutes, not individual names.)

Learn more at Move2HealthCentralVA.org and register.

Walk. Bike. Dance. Play. 30 minutes every day. You can do it. We can do it.

Posted by: Kim Connolly

Preparing for a Successful United Way Day of Caring

DoC LOGOforWebThe registration deadlines have passed, teams have selected their projects, and our office is busy putting the final touches on planning for the United Way Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring on September 18th. State Farm is graciously wrapping up the planning of our Kick-Off Breakfast scheduled for 7:30AM on September 18th at Albemarle Square. So, what should teams and nonprofits be doing to make sure the day is rewarding and impactful?


Scheduling the deadlines and Project Selection earlier this year served many purposes, including giving nonprofits and teams more time to organize plans for the event, make travel arrangements, communicate, and make site visits. Check out below for some ways that you can prepare for this year’s United Way Day of Caring:


Volunteer Team Leaders

  • Communicate regularly with your team about parking, what to wear, whether food will be provided, what time to arrive, and back-up plans for bad weather.
  • Reach out to the contact at our project site, as well as any other team leaders that you’ll be working with to schedule a site visit. Site visits will give you a chance to check out the parking situation, double check for poison ivy, and make sure that your team will have enough supplies to complete the project.
  • Share a breakfast invitation with the members of your team.
  • Send the names of your team members to the United Way in this format.
  • Arrange for team t-shirts and if you’ll use First Systems & Resources, order today!
  • Check out this checklist to be sure you’re fully prepared for the United Way Day of Caring!

DOC painting DOC book sorting











Nonprofit and School Project Coordinators

  • Be sure to communicate with the Team Leader(s) for your projects about rain plans, parking, whether food will be provided, supplies needed, appropriate clothing, any liability forms that need to be filled out. (See this checklist for more).
  • Schedule a time for the Team Leader(s) to come visit your site to walk through the project and ensure that you’ll have enough supplies to complete the project.
  • Purchase all supplies needed in advance and/or ensure that the Team Leader is planning to bring along supplies for the project.
  • Plan a way to engage the volunteers while on site. For instance, provide a lunch with staff, offer a tour of your office, or have Board members stop by to thank volunteers.
  • Find out the best way to send a thank you note after the event and get contact information for the thank you notes.


Please be sure to use the extra time this year leading up to the United Way Day of Caring to carefully plan for a meaningful day for each volunteer. The happier volunteers feel leaving the project sites after the event, the more likely they will be to continue to volunteer in our community!


Any questions? Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , United Way Volunteer Center director


Posted by: Jessica Snyder, United Way Volunteer Center director

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