Thousands of volunteers take part in annual Day of Caring

May 10, 2018

Credit Beth Adams/WXXI News

Most of the animals at the Seneca Park Zoo were spending the day indoors Thursday as their exhibits got some spring cleaning.

More than two hundred volunteers spread out across the zoo with rakes, shovels, and wheelbarrows.

"Right now we're getting up old weeds and weeding and mulching in the turtle's exhibit,” said Starr Hurst, an employee of Harris Communications. “We did the flower beds already."

Hurst and her co-workers, along with representatives of RIT, Paychex, Keller Williams Real Estate, and Ceridian were among the more than 5,000 volunteers taking part in the United Way of Greater Rochester’s Day of Caring.

The annual event pairs volunteers from local companies, schools, and other organizations with scores of nonprofit organizations that could use some help. Some of this year’s projects included reading to children, painting and organizing donations for shelters and planting community gardens.

At the Zoo, they were counting on volunteers to get the grounds and exhibits ready for the busy summer season. 

"We make sure they know where the dangerous places are and we keep them in the safe areas and make sure they're not going anywhere they're not supposed to,” said general curator David Hamilton. “We have the keepers keeping a close eye on them."

Donna Tuffner was with a group from RIT who were sprucing up the rhino display.

"It's not much different than yard work at home,” she said. “We really enjoy it. As a team, we have a lot of fun together. This is our fifth year anniversary doing this. We keep coming back every year because we have so much fun."

This is the 25th anniversary of the Day of Caring. It coincides with the United Way of Greater Rochester's centennial.