Valley lends a hand

Rake a Difference Day draws just under 500

102313_RakingdayJust under 500 people will participate in Community Thread’s Rake a Difference day on Saturday, Oct. 26, as volunteers gear up to help senior citizens with their leaves.

“I keep getting more recipient requests, and just when I get recipients, I get another volunteer,” Community Thread Associate Director Mary Weber said. “Right now 180 people are in a group with St. Croix Catholic and we have just under 500 volunteers. We can get up to 90 participants.”

Rake a Difference Day is a county-wide event that is more than 20 years old and continues to be a very popular event. Though Weber said the registration deadline for the event has passed, people continue to call in.

Community Thread is a nonprofit human service agency seeking to connect people and enrich lives in Washington County and western Wisconsin. Programs include Bayport and Stillwater senior centers, a volunteer center, a transportation program, the Neighborhood Service Exchange, Medical Reserve Corps and the Holiday Bureau.

Weber said Community Thread will do its best to help as many people out as possible, though those who sign up to participate now are put on a waiting list. The event is intended to be Oct. 26, but the organization and the participants try to get the raking done on a mutually agreed upon date.

“I just completed matching, and we can do yards up to a week later,”  she said. “If we find something that could fit the bill, we can fine tune it. It wouldn’t hurt to have a couple groups, a couple of larger groups and groups of one two or three. A lot of people miss the deadline to register. We’ll do what we can to accommodate them, but it’s just a little tricky sometimes especially if someone has a large yard (and) they need a large group of people.”

Volunteers for the event include Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church groups, high school groups and families just down the street.

Those who sign up for their yards to be raked provide the bags if necessary, and volunteers bring rakes, gloves and other things they may need.

Those interested in participating in this year’s Rake A Difference Day can sign up online at or contact Weber at