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Jennifer Whitaker


A few weeks ago, Penna Powers teamed up for the second year in a row with the United Way for its Day of Caring. This was the United Way’s 24th year holding the event, which had 120 companies and over 4,000 volunteers donate 15,735 hours of service.

The Penna Powers team partnered with East Midvale Elementary School for three different tasks in preparation of Back to School night that evening.

A small group of P2 employees set off to re-paint some hallways. They diligently stayed within the lines and did a great job revamping the halls. One volunteer even had time to complete a window mural for the community garden.

Another group led the charge in sorting through clothing from a recent clothing drive. There were some colorful donations, and I saw a few team members give longing looks at the sparkly tutu and Seattle Seahawks scarf. After a few hours, bags and bags of clothing were sorted and folded neatly, ready for some lucky kids.

Our last task was to prepare and compile literacy packets: 600 in all to ensure that each child received one. The lengthiest part of this process was to assemble flash cards that corresponded with each grade. The race was on with groups of two or three volunteers competing to finish their packets first!

We had over 30 volunteers turn out for the agency, and after a few hours of furious work, we had completed the tasks setting up East Midvale for a great Back to School night. Shelley McCall, the community school facilitator for East Midvale, later told us the night was a big hit: “We had 266 families – over 800 people!! That is amazing for a Title I school and it means that we are doing our job getting parents engaged and making them feel welcome in the school.”

“Participating in the United Way Day of Caring is not only a great way for Penna Powers to give back to the community where we live, work, recreate and raise our families, it provides a wonderful team building opportunity and is an important part of our company culture,” said Dave Smith, the agency’s managing partner. “We believe in the mission of the United Way and fully support the positive collective impact that individuals and businesses, large or small, can make in a community.”

Penna Powers doesn’t plan to stop with the Day of Caring this year. An internal fundraising campaign is currently in the works.

By far the best part of the day was delivering the literacy packets and backpacks to the classrooms and seeing the smiles and excitement on the kids’ faces. Donating a few hours out of our busy days really can make a difference.

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