Every year on Make a Difference Day, which this year fell on Saturday, October 25, people young and old join together for a day of service. Three million people volunteered nationwide, participating in diverse projects, from rehabilitating homes to planting trees.
Locally over 60 of our volunteers joined the Pass It Along staff to make a difference in the lives of senior citizens from Stanhope to Sussex.
The volunteers who came out for Pass It Along varied in shape, size, and age; the youngest volunteer being a mere five years old. However, despite the variety in age and personalities the groups worked together to help make lives easier for dozens of county residents. At one home in Sparta a group participated in a massive yard clean-up, even taking down some larger trees. At the end of the day the project leader, Herb Butzke of Sparta, let the elderly man know that he left him one tree to keep the active man busy with work until the spring.
Although the recipients of Pass It Along' s Make a Difference Day were mostly elderly, and due to age could no longer complete tasks such as raking leaves and cleaning gutters, they did not hesitate to open up to the groups who volunteered their Saturday morning. Another group in Stockholm, led by Pass It Along Special Events Director Susan Loyas, spent their morning making sure her yard and gutters were ready for the winter. After a rough morning the homeowner, an elderly woman who lives on her own, invited the group in to see her handmade porcelain doll collection. The youth volunteers were so moved that this woman, although living alone and slightly disabled, had found her passion in life.
The rainy Saturday morning ended in many sunny moments all around. Every participant seemed to gain a warm experience, eager to participate in the next service event with Pass It Along.