Hundreds of people across Utah County woke up early last Thursday to participate in the annual Day of Caring, hosted by the United Way.
Every September, the United Way of Utah County brings together local businesses to provide a day of service for their communities.
This year, over 40 businesses and 1,600 people attended, giving an estimated 6,000 hours of service to their communities.
“It gets bigger every year,” said Michaelann Bradley of United Way.
Volunteers included students from BYU and UVU and the mayors of Provo, Orem and Lehi.
While the specific projects change every year, each tends to focus on improving education, income and the health of others.
“It’s great to get people from different companies together,” BYU employee Mark Werner said. “There’s a large group of people who want to help.”
For 2015, the projects around Provo focused on cleaning up parks and schools, along with helping to paint and clean up addiction recovery buildings around the city.
“It’s fun to see different areas that you can help out with,” said Kathie Norris of BYU.
One of the more unique projects this year involved the assembling of a greenhouse for Recreation and Habilitation Services.
The facility focuses on helping individuals with disabilities learn how to become more independent. The facility is run by volunteers and serves over 1,100 people on a monthly basis.
“This greenhouse will help them learn good skills,” said Rose Roberts, president of the board of directors for the facility. “They want to do service themselves, they want to give back to the community.”
Volunteers who worked on the greenhouse had to build planter boxes to place inside the building and then lift the assembled greenhouse over a fence into its final position.
The greenhouse will help teach individuals how to be more self-sufficient and provide meals for those who attend the facility.
The Recreation and Habilitation Services building also received new interior paint, along with work on the landscape surrounding the building.
The Day of Caring is an annual event that has taken place for over 15 years in Utah, Salt Lake and Weber counties.