Fifty-one people volunteered a total of 107 hours during the first-ever Day of Action hosted by the United Way of West Ellis County.

This was the first year for the local nonprofit to partake in the worldwide movement designed to mobilize the caring power of volunteers to create positive change in communities.

This year's regional focus was on providing care and resources to homebound seniors in the community.

Families and members of the Waxahachie Fire Department got out early on the morning of June 21 to mow yards and check in on the elderly. A total of five yards were mowed.

One group that tackled Midlothian consisted of the Miller family and their friend, Marty Brasfield, a 1988 Maypearl graduate.

When Brasfield had a moment between yard tasks, he shared the Day of Action was the ideal way to "serve the community." Brasfield disclosed that his parents are elderly, and it is hard for them to get out of the house since his father uses a wheelchair.

"I understand the need for able body people to come out here and help," Brasfield said.

Along his side at the property located off Primrose Drive, was the Miller family that consisted of Madelynne (seventh grade), McKinley (ninth grade) and their parents, M'Lynne and Dejay.

Each member of the family has their own niche and gives back to the community in that way. This was the first time as a family to volunteer.

"It's a bonding experience for sure and is something that we can do together and help somebody else," Madelynne said.

McKinley then noted, "It's people that don't have everything that we've had. It's people in need."

After the family had worked on their second yard, the eldest, McKinley, took a moment to encouage others her age to participate next year.

"Don't get up dreading going," she said. "Instead, get up and be ready to help someone else and that you're going to make their day. Be prepared and excited to go."

Other volunteers also alleviated regular Meals on Wheels of Johnson and Ellis County drivers and delivered 92 meals in Waxahachie and 28 in Midlothian.

Twenty-three individuals delivered Meals on Wheels and were able to distribute 140 senior care kits that consisted of shampoos and conditioners, toothpaste and toothbrushes, facial tissues, dish soaps and dish towels, laundry detergent, small flashlights, puzzle books, and United Way cups and bags.

Lisa Deese, community relations director of MOWJEC shared that the first Day of Action was a success.

"Volunteers were students, business owners and other members of the community who were able to meet and serve our senior neighbors for the first time," Deese elaborated. "We appreciate the partnership between Meals on Wheels and West Ellis County United Way and are grateful that they chose our community's seniors to serve."

Baylor Scott and White Medical Center — Waxahachie sponsored the event and had several staff members participate in the Day of Action. Will Turner, the president of the Waxahachie campus, joined hospital staff, as well.

"When we come together as a community, we make a difference," Turner said in a United Way email. "Seniors in our community often face multiple challenges, including housing insecurity, isolation and living with chronic illness. What we did today promotes the well-being of our neighbors and connects them with resources that can improve their quality of life well into the future."

United Way of West Ellis County executive director Kasey Cheshier was one of many volunteers wearing the "Live United" t-shirts and delivered meals himself.

"It was incredible to see volunteers from throughout the region come together to serve and give back to local home-bound seniors," Cheshier said. "Not only do we hope to connect these wonderful residents with the various resources available, but we also strive to promote volunteerism and the importance of serving. Action speaks louder than words, and these volunteers truly make a difference in our community."

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450