Friday, September 23, 2011

Day of Caring at NRM

Every year in September, United Way organizes Day of Caring where thousands of volunteers all take the day off from work and volunteer in their community. United Way asks non-profit organizations to sponsor projects and then group leaders - mostly from companies - sign up for projects and organize volunteers to work on those projects. This year, on September 16, 2011, the Northwest Railway Museum participated in Day of Caring by sponsoring two projects.

The first project was for a group of 16-20 volunteers to come bake cookies for Santa Train in the Museum's historic US Army Ambulance Kitchen car. An amazing group from Marriot Hotels signed up. They were able to bake a ton of cookies and prepare the batter for the upcoming cookie bake on October 22nd. Normally, baking cookies at the Museum is quite an endeavor because bakers use an historic coal-fired oven to bake in and there are very few volunteers who know how to use coal ovens these days. But in this group there was a chef who grew up in Burma who learned to cook on a coal-fired oven. He immediately took charge and everyone was quite impressed.

Our second project was to beautify the Northwest Railway Museum for the Train Shed Grand Opening. 55 volunteers from Microsoft signed up to help clean the Museum. They worked on a mammoth list of tasks to help make the Museum look nicer. At the New Train Shed, to name just a few jobs, they washed windows, swept floors, raked gravel, weeded flower beds, and planted native plant landscaping. They also cleaned the Train Set: they power washed the exterior, vacuumed the coaches, cleaned out the closets and old restrooms, washed windows, reinstalled windows, and tightened up loose benches.

Volunteers worked at the Snoqualmie Depot as well: they painted picnic benches, washed windows, power washed the walkways, and swept. And if all of that was not enough, in the afternoon about half the group went up to the rail yard and worked on cleaning it up, cutting back the weeds and getting some of the equipment ready to be moved to the Train Shed. All told there were 75 volunteers from Marriot and Microsoft sign up plus, to help coordinate the event, four volunteers from the Museum helped run the speeder (railway scooter to move volunteers between work sites) and another three helped supervise the projects.

The Northwest Railway Museum thanks all of the volunteers who helped out from the Marriot, Microsoft and from the Northwest Railway Museum. It was a very successful day! If you have a group that would ever like to come and volunteer for a day, please feel free to contact our Volunteer Coordinator Cristy Lake at any time. Volunteering as a group for the day can be a fun way to serve the community and have an enjoyable time with friends.

Images(From top to bottom)

Volunteers from Marriot Hotels baked cookies and made lunch for everyone.

Microsoft volunteers raking gravel at the Train Shed.

A gentleman from Microsoft spent 6 hours power-washing the brick walkways at the depot – they haven’t looked this good in a long time!

Microsoft volunteers rode to and from the Train Shed by speeder. A big thanks to Jim H., Pete K., Ken L. and Chuck S. for operating the speeder and the train during the day!

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