The Coast Social Network with United Way of Southwest Michigan – Tuesday, August 31

Debbie from United Way of Southwest Michigan joins Zack to chat about “Rake a Difference,” which will be taking sign-ups beginning September 1 for teams and for Seniors needing fall yard cleaning help. Get details at!

On Thursday, November 11, hundreds of area volunteers, working as teams, will help seniors in Southwest Michigan rake and bag leaves and clean gutters as part of United Way’s 11th annual “Rake A Difference.” The service is FREE of charge and serves seniors, age 60 and older, who are unable to perform yard work and can’t afford to pay for services. Seniors are helped on a first-come, first-served basis, dependent on the number of volunteers available.

Before winter hits, raking leaves and cleaning out gutters is a vital step to ensuring spring snow melt does not cause water damage to home or lawn. Many area seniors try to accomplish this work on their own, putting them at risk for falls and serious injury. United Way of Southwest Michigan mobilizes the community to give them a helping hand in prepping for winter.

“This year is extra special because ‘Rake A Difference’ falls on Veterans Day. Many of our seniors are veteran families. This day is a reminder about service to community and that’s something we all can do,” said Debbie Ramirez, Volunteer Engagement Director of United Way of Southwest Michigan. “We invite volunteers in all three counties to sign up, but we do have a particular need for more in Cass.”

Volunteers can sign up at Seniors can sign up by calling 269-932-3554. The deadline for both is October 15.

United Way is grateful to this year’s generous “Rake A Difference” sponsors. Thank you!

Gold Level

  • AEP Foundation
  • French Paper Company
  • Gast Manufacturing
  • The Home Depot Foundation
  • Kinexus
  • Silver Beach Pizza

Silver Level

  • 1st Source Bank
  • Huntington Bank
  • Lineage Logistics
  • Midwest Energy and Communications
  • Sturgis Bank

Bronze Level

  • Andrews University
  • Ausco Products
  • Honor Credit Union
  • Kemner Iott Benz Agency
  • Kruggel Lawton CPAs
  • Mutual of America
  • Niles Precision Co.
  • ServPro



United Way of Southwest Michigan fights for the Health, Education, and Financial Stability of every person in every community. We have the influence and relationships to make sustainable change a reality. By harnessing resources from corporate, nonprofit, and public partners, we provide immediate assistance to our most vulnerable populations while addressing the root causes of our community’s longstanding challenges and changing lives for the better. To join the fight—through giving, advocacy, and volunteering—visit