Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Each spring, older adults across Muscatine have received a helping hand from United Way of Muscatine’s Student Day of Caring. Students from various schools volunteered to helped anyone who requested assistance cleaning up their yard and getting it ready for the warmer months ahead. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing and many students not yet eligible for vaccines because of their age, United Way elected to postpone the event for a second year out of abundance of caution.

When Senior Resource’s Laura Vargas learned that the Student Day of Caring would not take place this year, she began looking for ways to get older adults the yard work help they needed. In years past, Vargas had helped find people who would benefit from Student Day of Caring volunteers’ services and knew that between 25 and 30 people took advantage of them each year. She reached out to other staff members at Senior Resources as well as those at Crossroads to see if they could help fill the gap, and together, they started an impromptu outreach service.

Throughout the spring, Vargas will work to match volunteers from Senior Resources or Crossroads or volunteer groups in the community with people who need a helping hand with their yard. Rather than having a designated day or days for the cleanups to take place, Vargas will schedule them at the volunteers’ convenience. Volunteers provide a variety of light yardwork services, including raking leaves, cleaning out and mulching gardens, and pruning bushes, as well as washing windows.

As the weather continues to warm and more older adults find that they could benefit from some extra assistance preparing for summer, Vargas hopes that Senior Resources, Crossroads, and other interested community groups can continue to meet these needs. “It is a very rewarding experience,” she stressed. “We hope to continue helping and giving back our time to Muscatine County seniors,” she added.

If you find yourself with yardwork that you cannot complete on your own, or if you belong to a community group interested in helping seniors in need, Vargas encourages you to contact senior resources by calling 563-263-7292. Additionally, if any older adults find themselves in need of yard work help or other home projects, she encourages them to call Senior Resources and learn more about their ongoing chore service and home repair maintenance program. Senior Resources also accepts and prepares volunteers for these services as well.

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