Hundreds of “Rake A Difference” volunteers help area seniors with fall yardwork





Contact: Ryan Cheevers / 269.932.3546

Hundreds of “Rake A Difference” volunteers help area seniors with fall yardwork

United Way of Southwest Michigan organized this 8th annual Day of Action for Seniors

723 was the magic number today for United Way of Southwest Michigan.  It represented the record-setting number of volunteers—working as teams—who raked yards, bagged leaves and cleaned gutters throughout Berrien and Cass counties through 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. United Way invited the community to pitch in so seniors don’t put themselves at risk for falls and serious injury.

“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,” said Anna Murphy, President of United Way of Southwest Michigan.  “For this event, we saw a record number of volunteers who stepped up to help.  It’s wonderful to see.”

Max Naumann, 76, of Stevensville, is all about his community and began volunteering with the event last year.   

“I like doing this kind of work,” states Naumann.  “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. 

“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 and the McLoughlin Family Foundation. Other sponsors are 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 and Vail Rubber Works.

For more information, visit


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


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