RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Friday was an all-hands-on-deck effort for Nexstar broadcast television stations all over the country, with all news stations donating time, and giving back to the community for the 26th annual Founder’s Day of Caring.​ Today 8News team members volunteered time to make an impact on the lives of the viewers served every day, through community projects.

Right in the 8News station parking lot, the folks who contribute to putting together the news every day paused, to take the time to give back to the community. The project? Install brand new flooring, countertops and cabinetry in the Richmond Public Schools Lit Limo – a mobile bookmobile aimed at improving children’s literacy in the Richmond area.

Even 8News Vice President and General Manager, Larry Cottrill, pitched in to help make sure the bus was fully ready for children.

Richmond Public Schools Instructional Specialist, Judy Deichman, said the goal of the Lit Limo is to bring the books straight to children in a fun and engaging way, and the work done today will help to ensure the air-conditioned, wheelchair-accessible bus is available for children of all abilities.

“This day is about access for our students, and being able to reach all of our kids,” Deichman said. “So having a lit limo with a wheelchair lift and air conditioning for the summer will be more welcoming for all our students and they’ll be able to spend more time on a bus choosing a book.”

Across town, 8News Meteorologist, Matt DiNardo, put on his hairnet and went to work packing boxes of food for people in need in central Virginia, all in partnership with Feed More’s Meals on Wheels program.

“There are so many people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” DiNardo said. “So, this is helping, whether packaging meals here or we have other crews cutting up food for meals on wheels. To me this is just an easy way to help those in our community who just need that extra helping hand.”

8News crews also made their way to St. Josephs’s Villa to help build raised plant beds, as well as tidy it up for the summer season. The garden gives children a place to learn about plants and gardening, but more importantly, is a place of peace.

The Villa provides children and families facing homelessness, developmental disabilities, mental illness, and other challenges the opportunity to succeed through a wraparound approach to education, therapy and care that addresses individual needs. Director of Career and Transition Services, Matthew Kreydatus, said it’s important for children to learn about nature.

“Just seeing the kids putting their hands in the dirt, playing with the plants, smelling the mint, picking up worms, all that kind of stuff really makes you feel good about these kids learning not to be afraid of bugs and nature,” Kreydatus said.

8News’ volunteer work creating a better environment for children didn’t stop there. Team members also went to Bensley Elementary School to take care of needs, and help with beautification around the school for the upcoming school year.

“Some folks walking in the courtyard with mulch and some of that outdoor work. And helping set up some of the classrooms. Move things around some of the things that need to be moved,” said a Bensley Elementary School official when explaining the work 8News helped with Friday.

8News celebrates 26th Annual Founder’s Day at Bensley Elementary School

Dozens of 8News employees helped Friday with the community projects, and as for the Lit Limo – Richmond Public Schools said it is expected to hit the roads of Richmond in July.