Forty volunteers from Morrow County United Way rolled up their sleeves to sweep floors, make beds and clean cabins at Flying Horse Farms (FHF) last Monday morning. It was the United Way’s Annual “Day of Caring.” The Morrow County volunteers were with a group of 20 volunteers from Red Roof Inns and six from Abercrombie & Fitch.
FHF Facility Manager, David Hennessey said that 1,831 volunteers gave 46,334 hours of service to FHF, the camp just east of Mount Gilead, for children with serious illnesses and their families.
“It is amazing what these volunteer days accomplish,” said Hennessey who is one of only two paid employees for facilities and grounds at Flying Horse Farms. He said there are only two additional part-time paid facilities workers during camp sessions.
Hennessey said that the work volunteers do represents a considerable contribution to the camp. Volunteers are usually helping during the days between camp sessions. There was one time that a group was unable to be there and he “had a lot of beds to make that day.”
Flying Horse Farms Director and CEO, Mimi Dane said there were 796 campers in 2014 with up to 900 when family camps ae included. There are special camps for children with cancer, GI problems, heart illnesses, craniofacial, hematology, kidney, pulmonary rheumatology and sickle cell as well as family and sibling camps.
The camp opened in 2010 and has grown in the numbers of campers attending every year.
“We try to grow sustainably,” said Dane. In 2014 1,455 donors gave $4.2 million to operate the year-around, medically safe camp that is cost free to campers. No child or family pays for this camp experience. It is free to these children and allows them to reach beyond their illness and medical condition and have a “magical camping experience.”
United Way of Morrow County Director Jodi Hayes was pleased with the turnout of volunteers who represented United Way Board members, agencies and contributors. This is the second time the Annual United Way Day of Caring has been held at Flying Horse Farms. Other sites have been at Hospice, Girl Scout Camp, Habitat for Humanity, and Fort Gilead playground.
Hayes said United Way is always looking for projects for their Day of Caring which is usually held in July. For More information about United Way or the Day of caring you can contact Jodi Hayes at 419-946-2053.
For more information about volunteer opportunities at Flying Horse Farms, visit their website at www.flyinghorsefarms.org/get-involved.
The full length version of this story and more photos can be found on our website at www.morrowcountysentinel.com.
Alberta Stojkovic is a correspondent with the Morrow County Sentinel and can be reached at [email protected]