Rake and Run Volunteers Round Up Leaves

Rake and Run Volunteers Round Up Leaves

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With a crispness in the air, frost in the fields and the sun shining, various folks with rakes carefully stacked in their cars, trucks and minivans arrived at Central Park, the gathering place for this year’s Rake and Run service project  on Saturday morning, Nov. 6.

One glance at the group, some bundled in winter wraps, others holding onto fall jackets, told a story of readiness.  

“Helping rake this year are Hillsboro Area Hospital Junior Board members, Imagine Hillsboro volunteers and youth groups from the Hillsboro Presbyterian, Free Methodist and St. Agnes Catholic churches, explained project coordinator and HAH Junior Board sponsor Melissa Van Giesen, who was assisted by Imagine Hillsboro’s Anne Huber.

For about seven years now, the group has raked leaves, for no charge,  at the yards of the elderly and veterans. “We try to schedule it around Veterans Day, but this year not all the leaves are down.  We considered rescheduling, but whatever we can do today will be helpful,” concluded Van Giesen as she began explaining the morning’s plan.

The HAH Junior Board members, ages nine to 16 and all of whom have had the recommendation of an adult to serve on the board,  learn leadership skills and the benefits of community service, said Van Giesen.

“We’re greatly outnumbered today by the junior board and youth group turnout.  That’s wonderful,” Huber offered.  In fact, approximately 30 volunteers showed up, and the vast majority were school-aged youth.  

This year, about seven houses signed up for the free service, a lower number than usual, most likely due to the pandemic. The homeowners must be either senior citizens or armed service veterans.   

Youth volunteer raker Rylie Jones commented, “I’m just trying to help my community.  I like volunteer work.”  Hillsboro’s mayor agreed.  “It’s a chance to bring people together in the neighborhoods and to just do a good deed,” Mayor Don Downs said, as he powered up his leaf blower.

The service is free, but some choose to give a donation. That money is then given to Imagine Hillsboro to use for volunteer maintenance projects such as painting a community member’s house that’s in need.

Back in 2012, the HAH Junior Board started a Hillsboro beautification day that took place around Veterans Day each year, and that project developed into the current Rake and Run service project.  

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