Thirteen editors of Hudson Valley Patch Web sites spent a portion of their Wednesday volunteering at the New Rochelle Humane Society.
It was part of a program Patch calls "Give 5," where five days a year are set aside for the whole company to volunteer for local organizations.
Hudson Valley Regional Editor Katie O'Connor said giving back to the community is one of the founding principals of Patch.
"We don't just interact with the community," she said, "we embed ourselves in the community. Each person dedicates five business days each year to community organizations."
The official "Give 5" day is Thursday, but O'Connor said Wednesday worked better for the humane society, and the company said there was latitude to shift the days around.
"I've personally gotten so much out the volunteering efforts since joining Patch," O'Connor said, adding she brought her children to a previous "Give 5" day at a nursing home and they "had a blast."
The Hudson Valley editors descended on the humane society and first began by helping to remove and then prep and paint ceiling tiles from one of the dog kennel areas. Also on the to-do list was cleaning lighting fixtures and replacing fluorescent bulbs, cleaning out a storage shed, helping feed the dogs and bathing, drying and walking Mel, a dog with a skin condition that requires regular baths with special soap.
Shelter Manager Dana Rocco said these were the types of projects that are difficult for the staff to get around to doing, with the exception of the medicated baths.
"Normally, we'd have to hire out and spend money that would otherwise be going to the animals," she said. "Instead it goes to hire a painter and have people come in and do these extra little jobs. Or it gets burdened onto staff that already has a lot to do in their day."
Rocco appreciated the efforts of the Patch employees.
"This is great," she said.
Dina Sciortino, editor of White Plains Patch, which is scheduled to go live the last week in November, enjoyed taking a break from putting together her directory listings and assembling a team of freelancers.
"I was really glad to come out and meet everybody from the other Patches," she said, "and put a little elbow grease into cleaning out the shed.
"It's a good way for everyone to get to know each other, and it's a good way to give back to the community," Sciortino said.