By Jared Ritz
The annual United Way Day of Caring will take place Friday, and so far the project has a severe drought of volunteers.
Zero people are signed up to help the Hill County United Way paint the Girl Scout house at 420 Fifth Ave. starting at 8 a.m.
Mayor Bob Rice, director of the United Way, said that although he's disappointed, he isn't surprised.
"It's not unusual. People historically wait until the last minute," he said.
The Day of Caring, which has been going on for five years, is done to help local organizations with maintenance and building projects that they couldn't afford otherwise. Past years' projects have included painting the North Havre Community Food Bank and doing some work on the domestic abuse shelter.
The first year it was put on, about 60 volunteers showed up, Rice said. That number quickly dwindled to last year's turnout of seven.
Rice thinks that the rigors of the jobs may have something to do with the poor turnouts.
"The first year was a novelty thing, one of those things everybody wants to jump on board with," he said. "I think now they realize there is a lot of work involved."
Rice, who has been involved with the United Way for four years, said this isn't the first time the Day of Caring project has taken on the task of painting the Fifth Avenue building.
"We did the Girl Scout house about two years ago" Rice said. "We had so few people the last time we did it, we didn't get to finish the back of it, so it is half painted right now."
Rice hopes to finish painting the building and do some yard work. He suggested that those interested in helping wear work clothes, work gloves and sunscreen.
A breakfast of donuts and coffee will be served to all who attend, as well as a sandwich lunch.
In order for Rice to get an accurate gauge of how much food to bring, it is recommended that anyone interested in volunteering call the mayor at 265- 6719. People can just stop by the Girl Scout house on Friday, too.
Rice said he hopes those with a little extra time can help for an hour or so. The work is usually done about 4 p.m. Rice said.
"If it's a team effort and a community effort, it doesn't take very much time," he said.
Rice thinks projects like this, which are designed to help community programs like the Girl Scouts of America, are an important way for those around the Hi-Line to get together and accomplish something.
"This is for a good cause, and I hope there are a handful of people like myself who enjoy giving back to the community," he said. "I think it is important we get together as a community and support these things."