PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Parts of the Wyoming Valley may look a little cleaner, brighter, and better. It’s the result of hundreds of volunteers on Wednesday helping improve the community where they work. As Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller shows us, one of the projects represents a shift in the original intent of what this annual Day of Caring is all about.

The sound of sanding and drilling came from a project like no other in the history of United Way of Wyoming Valley’s Day of Caring. “I cried this morning on the way here. Probably tearing up a little bit now. A super, super special day,” said Denise Ogurkis.

Any tears Ms. Ogurkis shed were tears of joy. She just launched a Sleep in Heavenly Peace chapter this year for which she serves as chapter president to provide beds for local kids of struggling families. “We are going to change lives. We are going to get kids off the floor in our town. We’re going to make sure every kid has a bed.”

But Ms. Ogurkis needed help to do that so she turned to United Way. “What she said spoke to me,” said Tara Mugford Wilson who serves on United Way of Wyoming Valley’s Board of Directors and co-chairs its annual fundraising campaign. Ms. Mugford Wilson is also president of Power Engineering Corporation which hosted this build day on a Day of Caring that’s undergone a bit of metamorphosis. “It’s a very impactful thing. United Way has changed its mission over the years. The last four or five years has been much more mission driven instead of community chest model,” said Ms. Mugford Wilson.

Power Engineering Corporation did more than just donate manpower and space to the cause. It also bought thousands of dollars in tools which it’s giving to Sleep In Heavenly Peace to build even more beds in the future. As wood is sanded, stained and even branded with the Sleep in Heavenly Peace logo and as headboards, footboards and side rails are assembled, this bed-making project becomes a perfect fit for United Way’s Poverty to Possibility initiative.  United Way of Wyoming Valley President/CEO Bill Jones said, “So to be able to help those kids, you know, be comfortable at night, be well-rested for school, we know it helps.”

Volunteers on this project came from both Power Engineering Corporation and Mondelez International. They made about three dozen beds which will be given away. You can learn more about helping Sleep in Heavenly Peace Luzerne County by contacting Denise Ogurkis at

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