A Little Rainfall Can’t Stop UVA’s 30th Annual Day of Caring

September 22, 2021 By Whitelaw Reid, wdr4d@virginia.edu Whitelaw Reid, wdr4d@virginia.edu

Tim Breeden was introduced to the Day of Caring when he worked at the University of Virginia’s Health Sciences Library in the late 1990s – and he loved everything about it.

So much so that when he started a new job at the UVA School of Law Library in 2006 and saw a need for a Day of Caring project leader, he jumped at the chance.

Over the last 16 years, Breeden, a library coordinator, has rallied coworkers for a wide range of causes.

In 2011, it was boxing Christmas toy donations for a local church. In 2013, it was preparing cots for homeless shelters in the area. In 2015, it was reading to students at Moss-Nuckols Elementary School in Louisa.

On Wednesday, Breeden’s 12-member team was planning to participate in a painting project benefitting the Girl Scouts at Camp Sugar Hollow. Expectations of bad weather unfortunately forced organizers to reschedule the Sugar Hollow effort for a later date and caused postponements for other planned outdoor activities.

Breeden’s squad is part of an estimated 1,300 volunteers from UVA and the community who signed up for the 30th annual Thomas Jefferson Area United Way’s Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring, which more than doubled last year’s total, according to Anna Porter, an engagement manager for the United Way. Some 90 different projects serving around 70 different schools, nonprofits and other tax-exempt organizations had been scheduled, according to Porter.

“It gives the volunteers a chance to get out of the office for a day to a place that may be unique,” Breeden said in an interview conducted before the weather turned. “For the community itself, they have this day where they can get thousands of hours of volunteer time provided, and these agencies, these non-profits can get so much done in areas where they just normally don’t have the time or the money or the resources to do it.

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Tim Breeden has spearheaded Day of Caring projects for the UVA School of Law Library since 2006. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

“There’s just a good vibe coming off all of that. I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Breeden said the fact that a couple of the Law Library team members have daughters who are active Girl Scouts made this year’s project even more special.

“When you can have that real personal connection to a project, that can make it fun because you feel like, ‘Hey, I know these people and I can see how much joy they’re going to get out of it or their families will get out of it,’” Breeden said.

The rain couldn’t stop several indoor projects from happening.

In collaboration with Blue Star Families of Central Virginia, 15 employees from UVA’s Office of Communications wrote letters of encouragement to deployed service members around the world that will be included in care projects going out in November.

“We chose to partner with Blue Star Families this year because it is so important to let our troops know how much we appreciate the work that they do and to let them know that they are supported and cared about,” project leader Brooke Bailey said.

“It truly takes a toll to be away from loved ones with so much uncertainty surrounding them, so being able to brighten a soldier’s day and boost their morale can provide just a sliver of hope they may need to get through their next mission, their day, or give them that small piece of home they are missing,” Bailey said.

In another project, Adahlia Lewis, a building coordinator on the staff of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jennifer “J.J.” Wagner Davis, led a small team that painted rooms inside of the Piedmont Court Appointed Special Advocates’ Charlottesville office.

“It was something our O’Neil Hall team felt capable of doing and it seemed a great way to lend our support to their mission,” Lewis said. “We love the idea of freeing up their time and energy so the Piedmont CASA team can focus on their critical work to support and advocate for children in our community.”

On a make-up date to be determined, Holly Robertson, who serves as exhibitions coordinator for the UVA Library, will be leading a project with Library colleague Jeff Hill on the Moormans River benefitting a pair of organizations: the Thomas Jefferson Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Therapeutic Adventures. The project will be geared toward creating a better habitat for trout and improved access to the river for people with disabilities.

Robertson and Hill are looking forward to spending time on the river when the weather cooperates better than it did on Wednesday.

“It’s always nice to be outside,” Robertson said. “We, in the library, are typically interior people, and it’s always wonderful to work with community organizations around Charlottesville whose needs we can meet within a day. It’s pretty amazing what you can do within a day.”

For many UVA teams, the Day of Caring is more than just one day. There are numerous projects that continue throughout the year.

Staff from the UVA Library are also teaming up with local Girl Scout Troop 927 to gather resources and assemble to-go hygiene packs for The Haven, a multi-resource day shelter for people experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty in the Charlottesville area. 

From Sept. 27 through Oct. 4 here will be drop-off tubs located at Brown Science and Engineering Library, Clemons Library, the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Library and Ivy Stacks for material donations.

The hygiene packs will include two rolls of toilet paper, a Ziploc bag filled with laundry pods or powder detergent, a bar of soap, a stick of deodorant, a disposable razor and a full-sized toothbrush and toothpaste.

The library is welcoming fully assembled kits or individual items, as well as monetary donations through Venmo (@GStroop927 –  please include “The Haven” in the memo line).  

For questions or more information about this ongoing project, email Girl Scout Troop 927: troop927cville@gmail.com.  

Here are some photos of projects that took place Wednesday:

Media Contact

Whitelaw Reid

University News Senior Associate Office of University Communications