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PAINTING HOPE: United Way House in LaBelle receives a fresh coat of paint from FPL volunteers

The effort breathes new life into a vital resource
Posted at 9:42 PM, Feb 15, 2024

LABELLE, Fla. — In LaBelle, the United Way House got a makeover thanks to the hard work of volunteers from Florida Power & Light (FPL) as part of their 16th annual Power to Care Week. The sound of dipping paint rollers and swishing paintbrushes filled the air, symbolizing more than just a new coat of paint; it represents hope and a fresh start for many.

Ralph Fagin, a local resident who went to the United Way House for help after losing his home, shared his experience, stating, "Ever since then I've been coming here and they've been helping me out a whole lot with anything I need like food or clothing."

Since opening in 2010, Fagin said this United Way has helped so many people. "If it wasn't for United Way, there wouldn't be no hope for people around here like me," Fagin added.

Now, after years of giving to the community and people like Ralph, the United Way is getting a little help back.

Lisa Sands, the United Way Hendry and Glades Manager, expressed her gratitude, saying, "We're thrilled to see the coat of paint go on. I just really appreciate FPL - they're here for our community so much more than just painting a building."

Sands emphasized how brightening the building can make a big difference for the people that go there, saying, “For it to be freshly painted, cleaned up - it just kind of helps their situation be a little better by coming into a place that looks nice.”

More than a dozen volunteers dedicated their day to painting the United Way House, marking it as one of 20 projects across 10 Florida counties undertaken by FPL during their Power to Care Week. FPL says they focus on communities they believe could use a helping hand. "LaBelle and Hendry County has a certain population that needs the United Way services. So we went to United Way and said 'What are your needs, what can be helpful to you here in Hendry County?', and they suggested painting the building - so here we are."

This act of giving back resonates deeply with Fagin. "In the long run, what goes around comes around. If you don't give, you don't get," he remarked.