Letters to the Editor

Helpers Needed for PAL

The 11th annual Day of Caring of the United Way of Horry County will be part of a bigger project, assembling the Palmetto Adventure Land playground in Carolina Forest. Day of Caring on Sept. 24 will be the fourth "build day" of PAL, which was designed and named by pupils at Carolina Forest and Ocean Bays elementary schools.

The playground will be the first of three new Horry County facilities on a 35-acre site in Carolina Forest. A recreation center and a library also will be on the parcel with construction scheduled to begin later this year. Day of Caring traditionally kicks off the annual United Way of Horry County campaign for 42 community partners or agencies in four impact areas: basic needs such as food and shelter, promoting self-sufficiency, strong, safe, healthy families and Successful youth and children. The 2010-2011 campaign has a goal of $1,275,000, lower than last year after the campaign ultimately raised 90 percent of the goal. Nine agencies have lower allocations this year.

"We definitely need volunteers," says Julie Kopnicky, marketing and communications coordinator for the United Way, and she is "hoping for at least 215 - and would love to have more." Approximately that number of folks from businesses, nonprofits and individuals did remodeling work for Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach in the building on Mr. Joe White Avenue. This will be the seventh year for Day of Caring to focus on a major project, Kopnicky says. The first kickoff days sent volunteers to several smaller projects. Last year there were a few other Day of Caring projects but this year the plan is to have all Day of Caring volunteers at the playground project.

Setting up the playground is a six-day project. Lisa Bourcier, Horry County's public information officer, is shaking the bushes for groups such as homeowners associations or churches that can sign up as many as 100 workers. "I've put out tons of feelers," Bourcier says. The project starts Sept. 21 and runs through Sept. 26. Bourcier says the plan is to have three shifts of four hours each on all six days. With Day of Caring on that Friday, "we need the other days," Bourcier says.

The playground assembly "is perfect for Day of Caring," Kopnicky says. "Our volunteers saw this project as a great way to showcase our community living united." Susan Grissom Means, recently named chairwoman of the United Way, says, "I'll be there" Sept. 24. Lance Thompson, campaign chairman for the United Way, also will participate.

A positive sign for the United Way campaign is that 17 companies already have signed on as Pacesetters, meaning they will complete employee drives and corporate pledges by Sept. 17, before the new campaign kicks off at the Day of Caring breakfast Sept. 24. The Pacesetter number increased by three since last week and has passed the total of 16 Pacesetter firms last year. Kopnicky says there's no particular deadline for signing on as a Pacesetter, so there is time to do so and help give the 2010-2011 campaign a strong start.