Minnesotans helping neighbors as fall colors become major chores

“Rake, Rattle and Roll’ Before the Snow

By John Michaelson
Minnesota News Connection

Their brilliant colors bring smiles to many a Minnesotan, but once those leaves make their journey to the ground, it means work — and, for many senior citizens around the state, the need for help.

Those who are growing older at home in Minnesota often reach a point where they can no longer do the yard work they used to do themselves.

That’s why they’re so grateful when receiving help with things like raking, says Molly Chandler, senior services director of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches.

“A lot of folks have a lot of medical issues as they age and it’s just not feasible for them to do that kind of strenuous work any longer,” she explains. “And if we can find some folks to help out to do those kinds of things, we can help them remain in their home for a little longer and that’s where they want to be, to age in their home.”

Chandler adds the help can come by just offering your services to a neighbor, or by getting involved in a larger community effort.

Between now and 2030 in Minnesota, the number of adults age 65 and older is expected to nearly double.

Chandler says one such effort being undertaken by the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches is called Rake, Rattle and Roll. It’s part of the HandyWorks program and sends teams to the homes of seniors and those with disabilities to help with the leaves.

“Groups of 5 to 7 adults, and they can bring their children if they’re supervised,” she says. “They go out to the seniors’ homes and their yards and they rake and bag leaves. We’ve got a couple teams later in the week starting out and then going through about mid-November.”

Chandler says the Council of Churches also offers a program to connect seniors with independent contractors to take care of the seniors’ shoveling over the winter months, and more contractors are needed before the first major snowfall of the season.