CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Over 200 staff, students, and partners at West Virginia State University getting to work across the community in an effort to show how much they care.

The 11th annual WVSU Cares Day, a day of community service, was held Friday at 17 sites throughout Kanawha and Putnam counties.

WVSU President Ericke Cage said it’s a way the school can give back.

“It’s our way to really express to our community how much we appreciate all of the support that they give us as an institution,” said Cage.

Ericke Cage

The volunteers were working on a variety of projects Friday as part of the Cares Day, from painting and planting, to cleaning and organizing.

The work was being done at a number of non-profit organizations throughout the community. Some of them included The American Red Cross, where landscaping and recycling work was being carried out, The Salvation Army, where the volunteers were cleaning and organizing the food pantry there, and at Mountain Care Network, where they were cooking food for those in need.

Cage said more and various work was going on at the other locations, as well.

“Toys and items are being donated to the needy, we are just at Union Mission now where we will be doing a combination of painting and cleaning and also sorting items, we’ll have people out at Kanawha State Forest,” he said.

Cage said some of the work still included clean up from the April 2nd storm that hit the region and brought about a total of 10 confirmed tornadoes.

He said the storm did some damage to WVSUs’ campus, but Cage added that what he remembers most about the event was not the destruction it caused, but the resiliency of the community and how everybody came together to help each other build back.

He said whether it be the Kanawha County Commission, the City of Charleston, the Higher Education Policy Commission, or the Red Cross, they all stepped up to help WVSU make the necessary clean up and repairs on its campus.

Now, Cage said it was time to return the favor and extend it out into the whole community.

“Today is our opportunity to give back, to say thank you for helping West Virginia State, thank you for believing in us and helping us get through, not just the storm, but to get through the day to day life of the work that we do at the university,” said Cage.

Cage said Cares Day got started at WVSU back in 2013.

He said every little bit helps these organizations and makes a difference.

“When you’re out here running a non-profit organization, anytime that you can get volunteers to step up and to help, you advance your mission is critically important,” said Cage.