Ali Baughman had not heard of nonprofit United Way’s Day of Action.
But when the Self Regional employee got an email calling for volunteers and saw Beyond Abuse as one of the organizations she could help, she jumped at the opportunity.
“I just knew that that’s what I should be doing,” Baughman said. “I thought I should give back on my (grandmother’s) behalf.”
Baughman’s grandmother is an advocate for victims of sexual abuse. She would be proud to hear Baughman helped contribute to the cause, the latter said. So too would her father and husband, both landscapers — she and other Self employees were on hedge and weed duty outside the organization’s office on Alexander Street Friday morning.
United Way, a nonprofit with locations around the world, does a Day of Action each year to get volunteers out in the community in numbers sufficient to make a difference, said Marisel Losa, CEO of the United Way of Greenwood and Abbeville Counties.
More than 100 volunteers fanned out on Friday to several of the United Way’s partner organizations, in Greenwood and Laurens including Beyond Abuse and the Pathway House, a homeless shelter.
Ken Kelly, deputy director of the Pathway House, said the women’s shelter is already at capacity and proceeds from a thrift store that will, he hopes, open in August will be used to fund the construction of a much larger one.
On Friday, 30 employees from Self were at the thrift store, doing the grunt work needed to help the store meet its target opening date of Aug. 1.
More than 17,000 clothes hangers had to be sorted, Kelly said.
Jennifer Clary, one of the volunteers, couldn’t believe there were 17,000. Then she opened a box of them.
“Yeah, there are 17,000,” she said with a laugh.
“The numbers are real,” his colleague, Suzette Aiken, chimed in.
“I think most of us gladly wanted to give back to the community,” Self’s Anthony Richardson said outside Beyond Abuse’s office on Alexander Street. “Those that can’t get counseling through the years, you see it on our floors” in the hospital.
Although Self supports Beyond Abuse with financial contributions, Executive Director Cathy Miller said, it’s another to come out and labor on the organization’s behalf.
The sentiment was echoed by Ken Ball, of Geodis, said the most satisfying thing about volunteering on the Day of Action, something his employees have done four years running, is “knowing we could make a difference. Not only with donations, but with our hands.”