Students from Sault College partnered with United Way at Saturday’s 10th annual United Way Trades Day of Caring event – where volunteers from various programs went to homes throughout the Sault and helped seniors clean up their yards and winterize their homes.
Sam Spadafdora, Sault College Construction Carpentry Techniques Program Instructor, told SaultOnline he’s been involved with this initiative since its inception 10 years ago.
“We just wanted to do something for the community. We came up with this here, we tried to get trades that were going at Sault College and we got involved and it started off small, ended up big, and it’s been very successful since,” he said.
This year, there were 15-20 volunteers, which helped United Way reach their goal of helping 15 home owners.
Spadafora said he thinks this initiative is a great way to show the students that it’s a great feeling to give back to the community.
“They go to these houses and they see that the people are so appreciative by giving them money, cookies, all sorts of stuff,” he said. “Any money we collect goes back to the United Way. So it’s very, very well-received from them, showing them that giving is better than taking.”
Rayna Evoy, Fundraising Manager for the United Way of Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District, said they are able to help low-income seniors stay in their homes longer due to the community support that allows the United Way to hold this initiative. She said she thinks this service is a “greatly-needed and important one, because seniors don’t have many places to go or people to call for help.”
For homeowners Darlene and Lawrence Howard, this clean up has been a blessing that they’ve been receiving for the past three years, after hearing about it from friends.
“It’s just great,” Darlene said. “The energy and the smiles and they obviously enjoy what they’re doing. When else would we meet these young people? It’s a treat for us.”
Her and Lawrence showed their appreciation to the volunteers by not only taking the time to talk to them, but also handing out cookies.
“We talk to them, just to know that we appreciate it,” she said. “Otherwise they don’t realize how much we really do appreciate the work that they do.”
She said she thinks this isn’t just great for the homeowners, but also for the volunteers themselves, as it gives them a chance to give back to the community and help seniors stay in their homes longer.
“This would have taken us at least three long afternoons and they had it done in half an hour. So it’s a big deal,” she explained. “It really is – for seniors, and as a homeowner, it helps us keep our end up on the street. It looks nice and tidy for the neighbourhood as well as ourselves. And it’s very satisfying to look out and all the leaves are raked and you’re ready for winter.”
Anyone interested in getting involved can contact the United Way here or by calling them at 705-256-7476.