This year was our first time ever participating in Day of Action. For those who don’t know, this event occurs annually—on or around June 21—at United Ways around the world, and it was a huge undertaking for our small team. The concept for this event was a collaborative effort shared by Emily’s vision and Angela’s execution. The goal—make Birthday Kits and Basic Essentials (hygiene and snack) Kits to support vulnerable individuals and families. We started planning for our event in early January of 2023, and by March, we were enthusiastically pitching to anyone who would listen.
The outcome of this project was uncertain. We wanted to create kits for our community, but would we be able to get donations, financial support, and especially volunteers? Our United Way has not been well known for volunteer events or projects, and we worried…would be able to get the support we needed to make an impact?
Months passed. Suddenly it was May, and we had launched our initiative with an outpouring of enthusiasm in conversations, but we had no donations to speak of, only a few volunteers, and an Amazon wishlist that made us wish we could grow money on trees. What we learned was that sometimes it takes just one more ask to get the ball rolling.
With just a few weeks left to go, all of the pieces started to fall into place! Businesses offered sponsorships and donated products, others collected donations, and we even received a few purchases off of our Amazon wishlist! By the end of our last week on this campaign, we had received so many donations we hardly knew what to do with it all! Our conference room was overflowing with supplies, and the excitement in the office was palpable.
Finally, the day came. We set up at the Board of Education Spencer Building—a perfect location for our carefully established sorting and packing system. By the time our event started at 11am, we had 27 volunteers organizing, packing, labeling, and sorting kits. The good news didn’t stop there! Afterward, some of our volunteers even offered to deliver kits immediately to nonprofits nearby, and Pete and Angela made a trip to Good Shepherd to make their day!
While all of this was happening, folks at Corning Credit Union, the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, and 828 Church had arranged to make and donate even more kits to our cause.
We were anticipating making around 50-75 birthday kits and 100 basic essential bags for distribution in our community. With the outpouring of support, donations, and energy given to this event, our impact was amplified in an amazing way. By the time we finished making our kits and receiving the ones made by others, we ended up with over 225 Birthday Kits and over 200 Basic Essentials Kits!
Thank you everyone!! Because of you, this day was incredible. It warms our hearts, inspires us, and motivates us to keep being GAME CHANGERS like you!
Special thanks to our sponsors and major contributors like New Hanover County Schools, Modern Aviation, Leath Hr Group, Publix, Corning Credit Union, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, First Carolina Bank, Carolina’s Dentist, Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Wilmington and 828 Church.
Written by Angela Fernot, Outreach Coordinator at UWCFA