More than 600 United Way volunteers put on Live United T-shirts and fanned out across Union County on Tuesday, May 22, during the 16th annual Community Care Day.

More than 600 United Way volunteers put on Live United T-shirts and fanned out across Union County on Tuesday, May 22, during the 16th annual Community Care Day.

It was the largest contingent of volunteers in the history of the event in Union County, according to organizers.

"We've never had a bigger group. We've never had a more enthusiastic group," said Jim McFarlane, United Way board member and chairman of the event planning committee.

The event has expanded since the first Community Care Day in September 1997, when 150 volunteers participated. It is a day set aside for volunteers to wash windows, do yard work or take on other chores for senior citizens, as well as help community organizations with such tasks as painting or landscaping.

Tom Moore and Jessica Meek were part of a team from the Scotts Co. that volunteered at the Pregnancy Care Center on Sixth Street in Marysville.

"It feels good to get out and help people," Moore said.

He has participated in Community Care Day for four years, he said.

"I get a lot out of it. We don't do it often enough," Moore said.

This was Meek's first effort.

"It's fun," she said. "It's good to be here."

The Scotts Co. group removed five tree stumps from the Pregnancy Care Center grounds, planted flowers and laid mulch.

The volunteers' day started with breakfast at St. John's Lutheran School. The participants worked all morning prior to breaking for a free lunch from Buffalo Wild Wings. Workers then returned to finish their projects and wrapped up at around 4 p.m.

Groups also completed large-scale spring cleanup projects in Uptown Plain City and Richwood, and they gave the old Fairbanks Elementary School gymnasium in Milford Center an extensive makeover for continued use as a community center.

A group of associates from Honda of America and Scotts worked on 40 projects at senior citizens' homes in the Windsor neighborhood.

Volunteers from Nestle baked dozens of cookies for area food pantries.

The Ohio Helpers 4-H Club painted and worked at the Union County Fairgrounds.

Students from Bunsold Middle School finished collecting and sorting items received in a weeklong clothing drive that was held in all area schools.

More Bunsold students worked at the Empowering Gardeners community garden in the Marysville Estates mobile-home park.

A total of 19 groups sent 10 or more volunteers each to take part in Community Care Day.

Dave Bezusko, campaign and public-relations director for the United Way of Union County, estimated that if the volunteers were paid, their work would be worth almost $22 an hour.

Moore said the work, sweat and time are well worth donating.

"Everybody's always very appreciative," he said. "You would be amazed how much you get out of helping people."