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A Day of Caring

A volunteer team from AEP SWEPCO paints chairs at Renesting Project, Inc. in Bossier City. The chairs will be used at the non-profits fundraiser, Nest Fest, this summer. Pictured (left to right) are Ken Beatty, board member for Renesting Project, Inc., Janel Edwards and Naketa Sterling, both with AEP SWEPCO.

Community comes together through United Way of NWLA event

Giving today for a better tomorrow — that’s the message volunteer teams spread throughout the community last week during United Way of Northwest Louisiana’s Day of Caring.

The one-day, community-wide volunteer event is an opportunity for United Way donors and companies to see their contributions at work.

More than 200 volunteers from 24 businesses and organizations participated in the event, which is the most visible United Way project of the year. 

“It is truly amazing to see so many individuals who are willing to help their neighbor, roll up their sleeves, lend a hand, and do the things that are necessary to make sure this area and the people who call it home are safe and strong,” said Bruce Willson, President and CEO of United Way of Northwest Louisiana.

Teams gathered at Margaritaville Resort and Casino before venturing out into the community to complete projects, ranging from landscaping and clerical work to painting giving life to things once used. The volunteer team from AEP SWEPCO spent the day at “the Nest,” the warehouse for Renesting Project, Inc. in Bossier City.

Renesting Project, Inc., a 501c3 organization, provides gently used furniture and household items to clients of registered social service agencies as they transition from homelessness to hopefulness. Noel Haacker, founder and executive director of Renesting Project, Inc., couldn’t be more excited to have a team of volunteers from AEP SWEPCO at their warehouse. They utilized the extra hands to work on a special project for their summer fundraiser, Nest Fest.

“This is an amazing gift for us,” Haacker said. “If we had used our regular volunteers, we would have missed serving four families. We are so grateful to have them help us.”

Nest Fest is an annual fundraiser for Renesting Project, Inc. Volunteers from SWEPCO put their skills to work by sanding and painting chairs that will be used as centerpieces and auctioned at the event, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Bossier Civic Center. The theme this year is “Chair-ished Beginnings.”

Naketa Sterling, a volunteer with AEP SWEPCO, said she likes giving back in any way possible.

“Knowing that you can help someone just makes you feel better,” Sterling said. “You never know who might be in need and programs like this really help the community.”

Renesting Project, Inc. was just one of 24 nonprofit agencies benefiting from the extra hands and help.

Willson added, “Not only are the companies and volunteers providing a much needed service today for community programs, but they will be impacted by the people they meet, the faces they see, and those they work alongside. It’s not about the program, or the nonprofit; it is about the people.”

United Way of Northwest Louisiana has improved the lives of individuals for the past 94 years by creating opportunities for a better life. Today, the organization is reaching beyond the historical role of passing through fundraising dollars and focusing efforts on specific goals in Education, Income and Health, while continuing to provide a safety net to ensure that the basic needs of individuals in crisis are still met.

Anyone interested in becoming involved, making a donation, or volunteering time is encouraged to contact United Way at 677-2504 or visit www.unitedwaynwla.org.

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