Selfless employed 2,000 volunteer time, skills to United Way's "Days of Caring."

Posted: September 16, 2005

They removed old tires and trash from Norris Square Park in North Philadelphia. Cleaned the mens' room at a community church. Washed windows at the Good Neighbor Senior Center in Sharon Hill. And at the Peak Center in North Penn, they made hoagies for an annual fund-raiser.

More than 2,000 employee volunteers from 75 companies worked at 100 sites yesterday as part of the United Way's annual "Days of Caring" program.

Other volunteers will participate in related events Saturday and on other days their companies select.

The program is about building "volunteer power," said Alba Martinez, president of the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. While raising money is important, she said, so is showing the "tangible" need for volunteers.

"There is so much to do," Martinez said. "People come out to work in the communities today, and they are motivated to continue to be involved."

The response to Hurricane Katrina has shown the willingness of people to volunteer. The local United Way has received about 2,000 calls in the last week with offers to help hurricane victims who move to the Philadelphia region, Martinez said.

Contact staff writer Patricia Horn at 215-854-2560 or phorn@phillynews.com.

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