Rake A Difference Makes a Huge Difference for Seniors in SWM Thanks to United Way

You have to love it when a plan comes together...especially when a team comes together and knocks one out of the yard!

United Way of Southwest Michigan organized today's 8th annual Day of Action for Seniors, code-named Rake A Difference, and 723 proved to be the magic number.

The number 723 represents the record-setting number of volunteers—working as teams—who raked yards, bagged leaves and cleaned gutters throughout Berrien and Cass counties as part of their annual event, Rake A Difference: A Day of Action for Seniors.

United Way organizes the event every year...before winter hits...to ensure spring snow melt doesn’t damage the property of seniors who can’t perform the work themselves and are unable to pay for the services either. United Way invited the community to pitch in so seniors don’t put themselves at risk for falls and serious injury.

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United Way President Anna Murphy says, “It’s very tough for many people in our community to winterize their homes, and this gives us one day to make a big difference.” She adds, “For this event, we saw a record number of volunteers who stepped up to help.  It’s wonderful to see.”

For 76 year old Max Naumann of Stevensville, it's all about his community and he began volunteering with the event last year. Naumann says, “I like doing this kind of work,” and adds, “It’s rewarding to go out and help others. I may be in this position too someday where I need United Way to come help me.”

Naumann, a retired machinist from Gast Manufacturing, is a member of the Post 560 American Legion, and spent 2 years in Europe serving in the United States Army. He says, “As a farm kid, you learn how to work. We had to work when I was in high school on the farm with my aunt and uncle. It’s just the way I am. If you like to do this kind of work, United Way is a good organization to get involved with.”

Major sponsors for Rake A Difference are:

  • The Home Depot Foundation – Store #2768
  • AEP Cook Plant & Indiana Michigan Power
  • French Paper Co.
  • Gast Manufacturing
  • The McLoughlin Family Foundation

Other sponsors include:

  • Andrews University
  • Chemical Bank
  • Competitive Edge
  • Hastings Mutual Insurance Co.
  • Kemner Iott Benz
  • Kinexus
  • Lindberg/MPH
  • Niles Precision Company
  • Plante Moran
  • Silver Beach Pizza
  • United Federal Credit Union
  • Vail Rubber Works

For more information you can visit online at uwsm.org/rakeadifference.

United Way of Southwest Michigan fights for the Health, Education and Financial Stability of every person in every community. They have the influence and relationships to make sustainable change a reality. By harnessing resources from corporate, nonprofit and public partners, they provide immediate assistance to the most vulnerable populations among us while addressing the root causes of the community's longstanding challenges and changing lives for the better. To join the fight—through giving, advocacy and volunteering—visit www.uwsm.org.

Shown in the photo accompanying this story on Moody on the Market are team mates from Sun Coast Packaging including – (L to R) RoseAnn Shirley, Kim Knuth, Nancy Poelker, Malcolm Taylor, Erin Mwenya, Ed Turner and Glenda Chadwick.