Michigan Works volunteers raked and bagged leaves in senior citizens’ lawns last year, as part of the 2011 Day of Action for Seniors, hosted by the United Way of Southwest Michigan. Submitted photo

Archived Story

United Way still seeking volunteers for service day

Published 2:50pm Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is still actively seeking volunteers and area senior citizens to participate in the second annual Day of Action for Seniors Nov. 1. The deadline to sign-up is Friday.

With winter preparing to hit southwest Michigan in a few short months, the United Way created the Day of Action for Seniors last year in hopes of helping community residents winterize their homes before snow flies. Through a $6,000 grant from The Home Depot Foundation, the United Way has been able to purchase disposable items for volunteers to use so there is no cost to seniors receiving the service. Volunteers will begin their services Nov. 1 and continue throughout the day in teams, raking leaves, cleaning gutters and weatherizing windows with plastic.

“This is what United Way tries to do,” Emily Hosinski, project manager of innovations, said Tuesday. “We identify where the gaps of service are in a community and we try to fill those gaps.”

Hosinski said that big supporters of the project include the Area Agency on Aging and other businesses who help form teams of employees.

“We appreciate all their help because they allow us to be able to do this for residents who really need it,” Hosinski said. “On the day, they’ll get schedules and maps and head out into the world and get things done.”

Currently, many Berrien and Cass county seniors have called the United Way office and signed up to receive help from a team. Hosinski said they are still able to add a “handful” of seniors to the list, however, more than 150 volunteers are still needed.

“Many people are still forming teams, so we’re expecting a bunch to still come in, but we could use all the help we can get,” Hosinski said.

Seniors looking to request the services must own their own home and be 65 years of age or older, though Hosinski said the United Way is not strict on the guidelines.

“If they call me, I get them signed up,” Hosinski said.

Volunteers will meet at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 1 at Lake Michigan College campuses in Benton Harbor and Niles. A light breakfast and organizational meeting will take place before teams begin making their rounds throughout the communities at 9 a.m.

Hosinski said that the Day of Action takes many seniors by surprise and she often hears how much they appreciate the help.

“They’re so thankful,” Hosinski said. “It means so much to them to see the community come out and help them.”

To sign-up as a volunteer or to request Day of Action services, contact Hosinski at (269) 982-1700 ext. 23, or visit www.uwsm.org/dayofactionforseniors.

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