Most people visualize a superhero as someone who wears a mask and cape and has some sort of superhuman power to protect a community from danger. But Pat DeMonte, Tiffin-Seneca Untied Way executive director, said anyone can be a superhero, just by caring and helping others.
DeMonte said citizens of Tiffin and Seneca County can be superheroes by volunteering at the 11th annual Day of Caring event, which is to take place today at 8:15 a.m. at the Seneca County Opportunity Center.
"Each time we can promote volunteerism in our community, it helps individuals see that they can make a difference on their own," DeMonte said. "That's what our theme this year for the United Way campaign is you can be a superhero. It's not about wearing a cape or a mask, it's about doing something for somebody else."
One of the activities to take place during the Day of Caring is a Harvest for Hunger Food Drive.
"We all know there are people struggling, so it's important to get them food and store the food pantries up with food," said Lew Hurst, superintendent at the Opportunity Center. "So that's the primary thing that we are trying to accomplish is that food drive."
Volunteers are to collect non-perishable food and personal items for the food drive. Those who wish to give to the event are asked to put donations on their front porch with an attached Day of Caring flyer.
Food donated to the Harvest for Hunger is to be given to the Salvation Army and to a FISH food pantry, DeMonte said.
Donators also have the option to give food to Support Our Troops, which go to local military personnel.
"That's always very rewarding because we know how much they look forward to it, when they get those packages," DeMonte said.
Everybody who participates at the Day of Caring event also will have an opportunity to write a letter to a serviceperson, she said.
"Some of the letters are just heart-warming thanking them for what they're doing to protect our freedom," she said. "We can't forget that they're there, and they're going through their struggles, so that we can get up every day and do what we do here."
Volunteers also are to take part in raking leaves, trash clean up and planting flowerbeds, Hurst said.
Another thing the local United Way wants to accomplish is to "bridge the gap in our community between the universities and the community itself," Hurst said.
"This gives students an opportunity to give back, and for local citizens to see them in a different light," he said.
DeMonte said the event also gives college students from out of town, an opportunity to feel more like a part of the community.
"We're all working together to help our community," she said. "And that helps them to feel like they belong here."
Another project to take place during the Day of Caring is cleaning the Morrison House, which is a transitional housing facility for homeless people, DeMonte said.
Hurst said people who have not registered to help during the Day of Caring can go to the Seneca County Opportunity Center. They can still help and receive a free superhero T-shirt.
"We all have that little superhero inside of us," DeMonte said. "We all want to be a superhero, and fly off and do something great. Superheroes are not extraordinary people. They're ordinary people that do extraordinary things. And that's what the message of our United Way is, to try and tell everyone they can be a superhero."