On June 9, we hosted our first annual Day of Action. This community-wide volunteer event was sponsored by MU Health Care and included nearly 100 volunteers who worked on projects for City of Refuge, Coyote Hill, Love Columbia, Mid-Missouri Legal Services, Services for Independent Living, First Chance for Children, Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity, and City of Columbia parks.

The day began with a kickoff event at Dexheimer Shelter located in Cosmo Park. MU Health Care Chief Executive Officer Ric Ransom, Boone County Presiding Commissioner Kip Kendrick, and Heart of Missouri United Way President and CEO Andrew Grabau each gave inspiring remarks to start the day. We then celebrated our newest Give 5 graduating class and wrapped up the morning’s event with a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting.

As volunteers headed to one of the seven agency partners, we caught up with Nim Chinniah, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of Missouri. When asked about MU Healthcare’s involvement in Day of Action, he said,

“We believe you’re only as strong as your community. We save and improve lives every day at MU Health Care so anything we can do to strengthen the lives of those in our community is something we’re committed to do.”

After the morning kick off, volunteers headed to their sites at one of the seven agencies in the Columbia community. Carrie, Lori, Marissa, and Rachel with Boone Health spread mulch at City of Columbia parks. While they had participated in United Way events at Boone Health in the past, this was their first-time volunteering with United Way in the community. Some of their colleagues recommended the experience so they all agreed they were looking forward to giving back in a new and different way.

At City of Refuge, volunteers from Missouri Employers Mutual spread mulch and picked weeds around the building. Keenon, a Missouri Employers Mutual employee, found the activity satisfying: “I do this in my garden every day so I might as well do here today and give back.” Plus, the sunny 70-degree weather made the work even more enjoyable.

Brita, the Intern and Volunteer Coordinator for City of Refuge, shared just how helpful it was to have volunteers caring for their grounds:

“We moved into this larger building last fall but upkeep is more demanding and our staff is limited. We depend on volunteers to make the exterior of this space more welcoming.”

When we asked about how things were going at the site, she said,

“Volunteers with United Way are always engaged and ask questions. United Way attracts people that are already engaged in the community and that shows in the ways the volunteers interact with us.”

Over at First Chance for Children, volunteers painted fences and updated the playground. Angela, Sarah, and Brian were a few of the volunteers giving the fences an updated look. Sarah and Angela work for MU Health Care and Brian works for First Mid-Bank. They mentioned that both MU Health Care and First Mid-Bank have cultures of service, so they appreciated the chance to give back to the community as part of Day of Action. Brian has been involved with United Way for many years and enjoyed returning to First Chance for Children to see how it has changed and grown over time. Plus, Brian, Angela, and Sarah told us they made such a great team that they even felt inspired to start their own DIY show on HGTV. 😊

All in all, our inaugural Day of Action was a huge success. Thank you to all our volunteers, agency partners, sponsor, MU Healthcare, and everyone else that participated in this day.