A record number of ExxonMobil volunteers participated in the 19th annual United Way Days of Caring on a beautiful October.
About 800 volunteers from various ExxonMobil plants joined another couple hundred of volunteers to improve the Baytown community Friday with a plethora of projects. Close to 50 projects were completed by Saturday.
At the Baytown Nature Center, groups of ExxonMobil employees from Baytown Olefins Plant participated in several projects across the 500-acre peninsula — everything from cleaning the butterfly garden, picking up trash, installing a wheelchair ramp and painting a building.
“This is something that we look forward to every year and our team loves helping others and giving back,” Jason Duncan, Baytown Olefins Plant manager, said. “We have an awesome United Way drive every year in which our employees support United Way financially, but what (Days of Caring) allows you to do is give time and talent. You can actually see the difference it makes and you feel great at the end of the day.”
At the butterfly garden, Duncan, along with about a dozen volunteers, added gravel to butterfly garden pathway, pulled weeds, mulched and cleaned the garden.
Eric Ebbers, of the Olefins Plant, has been leading teams in the Days of Caring for 10 years because of the sense of fulfillment he gets.
“To be able to see the accomplishments we’ve done year after year is phenomenal,” Ebbers said. “And there are so many opportunities to just to see and do different things that you never see. A little bit of woodworking, plumbing, and a little bit of gardening — things that you know a little bit about and get to expand and grow from. Personally, I’ve learned quite a bit in 10 years of doing this.”
Volunteers from Community in Schools, the Sterling Library, Goose Creek CISD, H-E-B, Covestro, Oneok, City of Baytown, ExxonMobil and various community members mobilized in the spirit of giving. Close to 1,000 Volunteers participated in service projects that included building a raised garden at the Peter E. Hyland Center, upgrading the Promise Center, installing a wheelchair ramp for a disabled homeowner and restriping the parking lot at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 912 to name a few.
“United Way’s Days of Caring is a wonderful public display of volunteerism,” Melissa Reabold, United Way executive director, said. “Hundreds of individuals come together for the greater good. It is very powerful!”
Through the United Way Days of Caring, donors and supporters get to visit a United Way partner agency site, meet agency employees, complete a meaningful volunteer project, and otherwise have personal contact with an organization they are supporting financially by their United Way campaign contribution.
United Way Day of Caring originated in the 1980s in Pittsburgh with United Way of Allegheny County.
United Way Day of Caring came to the local United Way in Fall 2000, when about 100 ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant volunteers, coordinated by Mark Stein and Steffani Box, completed projects at seven United Way agency locations.