Day of Giving offers opportunities for volunteers, community


September 21, 2023

Diana Zimmerman

Stephanie Vossen (top), owner of The Spar in Cathlamet, smiles for the camera as she and another volunteer work on the bleachers near the track at Wahkiakum High School. More volunteers (below) lend helping hands.

By Diana Zimmerman

Last Thursday, as part of United Way's Day of Caring, some Wahkiakum students spent time outdoors cleaning up the campus, trimming hedges, edging sidewalks, and more.

Some current members and at least one former member of the Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors were there as well, volunteering a few of their hours in a similar manner.

Out by the track, Stephanie Vossen and her crew from The Spar, a Cathlamet restaurant, were cleaning and painting bleachers and the track building.

"We're here to spend the day giving back to the community," Vossen said, simply.

Elizabeth Brandenburg was one of 14 or 15 volunteers from NORPAC, or North Pacific Paper Corporation out of Longview.

"It's been growing each year, the more we get, the bigger projects we hope for," Brandenburg said. "We want to get down and dirty. The harder the work, the better the reward, because we can see everything we are doing."

Working in the high school garden promised to be just that, as did clearing all the brush along the fence that blocked the view and sometimes harbored wild animals.

Diana Zimmerman

"We've never had the United Way teams come out here," Superintendent Brent Freeman said. "It's been just our kids. Hopefully they want to come back."

Brandenburg looked around.

"It's hard to keep up on school property," she said. "You get as much help as you can but it's not enough. Especially between the kids and the landscaping."

"We've done this for so long, I think it's one of those things we want to keep doing. It's our one time of the year that a lot more of our employees can come out and do stuff," Brandenburg explained. "We get to meet great people, see great things. We do a lot with schools. NORPAC has a community involvement committee, but it is hard to get out in the middle of the day during work, and when we finally do, it's so refreshing to see there is a world outside of work."


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