For the 22nd year, more than 1,000 volunteers helped Milwaukee’s elderly adults prepare their homes for the winter months on Make a Difference Day. Community members, students, local company employees, families, student groups from UW-Milwaukee and Marquette University and others went to the homes of 350 older adults to rake leaves, wash windows and clean up yards. According to Debbie Knepke, corporate and events manager for the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee, many of the older adults who were served are over the age of 80 and live alone. “If it wasn’t for 1,200 volunteers, these older adults would not have a way of doing it themselves,” Knepke explained. Volunteers from Stone Creek Coffee were assigned the home of an elderly woman named Alexandra (declined to give her last name). Alexandra would not have been able to rake the abundance of leaves without the volunteers. “I myself am extremely grateful. I have a child on the West Coast and one who is unable to help me. I don’t know what I would have done without the volunteers,” Alexandra stated. Phil Lenaghan did a lot of the raking and lifting of the leaf piles on Make a Difference day. Lenaghan, account development manager for Stone Creek Coffee, said the work was hard but seeing the leaves piled on the curb was satisfying. “Volunteering is so important, not only today but throughout the year,” Knepke said. “We invite people to get involved, do things around the holidays for your neighbor, help feed someone who’s hungry, help read books to kids, help clean up your neighborhood parks. There are so many things to do.”Did you like this story? Subscribe to NNS today.
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