Volunteers Rachael Tompkins, Sara Casey and Richard Martin rake leaves and brush into a pile Thursday during United Way of Southwest Michigan's Day of Action for Seniors at a Niles residence. Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

Archived Story

United Way takes action for area seniors

Published 2:50pm Thursday, November 1, 2012

Although it was the first day of November, Niles resident Willa Collins said she felt as if it was Christmas when a group of volunteers raked the leaves from her yard and winterized her windows free of charge.

“It’s just fantastic, like I’m getting a present,” she said.

Collins was one of 150 seniors in Berrien and Cass counties helped during the United Way of Southwest Michigan’s second annual Day of Action for Seniors Thursday.

Nearly 500 volunteers raked leaves, cleaned gutters and winterized windows with plastic for area seniors.

“It’s nice to do something that has an immediate impact,” said Jennifer Scally, first-time Day of Action for Seniors volunteer.

“We just want to get out and help,” said volunteer Richard Martin.

The United Way of Southwest Michigan created Day of Action for Seniors last year with the aim of helping community residents winterize their homes before the snow falls. A $6,000 grant from the Home Depot Foundation allowed United Way to purchase disposable items for volunteers to use so there is no cost to seniors.

Emily Hosinski, UWSM project manager of Innovations and Girls on the Run, said the program is a hit.

“It isn’t just about helping them out — they feel like somebody cares and somebody is checking on them,” Hosinski said. “It’s really great all of the comments we get. They are so thankful.”

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