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A Sense of Love

I just received an email from Shaele Wood of the United Way asking me to photograph the United Way Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring on Wednesday, September 23rd, and immediately all five of my senses kicked into gear.  I am, of course, delighted to offer my photographic skills to document this event; it is the event I most recall and look forward to covering each year.

2009-06-30_JCarpenter_rally Instantly, my first sense is awakened in seeing all 2,500 plus volunteers.  Some are in colorful “team” shirts, others are dressed in their “finest “work clothes ready for a hearty days’ work. This outpouring is typical of the Charlottesville community.  When a need arises, help from so many caring individuals from various walks of life, is on its way.

You can also feel their excitement.  Just like a “kid in a candy store”, they are ready and eager to help out their fellow neighbors. No matter what the upcoming task, from painting to shredding documents, their level of enthusiasm is always top notch! 
And, oh, you can hear joy emerge from the “pep rally” speakers all the way to the State Farm Gospel Choir.  Your heart is pounding with enthusiasm. The singers who have performed for the last several years from State Farm Insurance Company are ‘in tune’ with getting the “troops” fired up for their mission. 

I may have forgotten to talk about the taste of the rally! How could I forget something so amazing! A breakfast fit for a king, a queen, and all their subjects! There is nothing like starting the day off right with a hearty breakfast and a full tummy. It makes one want to work that extra little bit harder!

2009-06-30_Jim_Carpenter-resizeAnd speaking of working…There is nothing like the smell of fresh paint to wake up the senses!  The Day of Caring volunteers can be seen cleaning windows, clearing shrubs, digging holes, sawing lumber, and putting up dry wall. There are labors to be shared by one and all.  This, my friends, is a labor of love.

The United Way Day of Caring is a one-day festival that means so much for this community.  It always hits home for me for many reasons.   The first reason is that I was the paperboy many years ago for the United Way when it was called the Community Chest, right here in Charlottesville. Secondly, Mr. Laurence E. Richardson was a dear friend of mine who cared so much for the community and its neighbors.   Finally, I find that even though we have five senses,  the volunteers who participate in this day actually create a  “sixth sense” of which we should all be very proud -- love!  Love for our Central Virginia area and our fellow citizens! After all, aren’t we all our brothers’ keepers?!

Thank you for allowing me to share my perspective and insight into the Day of Caring.  I hope that maybe it inspired you to want to share your time and spread a little love.

Posted by Guest Blogger Jim Carpenter, Master Photographer, Gitchell’s Studio, Inc.

With more than 3,000 volunteers expected to register this year, please consider all nonprofit agencies and schools (including child care centers) where you work, volunteer or support and encourage them to register projects.  A Project Development Toolkit is available to help organizations identify needed projects, and United Way staff is eager to help, as well.  Please visit our website or contact Shaele Wood for more information (434-972-1705).

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