MANY OF THE VOLUNTEERS and clients who participated in the GRAFIA Rake the Town event Oct. 26 gathered at area churches for a meal and to fellowship about the day’s activities. Here a group from Elk River posed for a photo at the Elk River Lutheran Church. (Submitted Photo).

It was a beautiful day to Rake the Town(s)

Subhead: 
Contributing Writer
Bill Morgan
Over 335 volunteers visited over 65 homes in the Sherburne County Oct. 26 to help elderly and incapacitated homeowners rid their yards of fallen leaves. 
The event was called "Rake the Town" and is sponsored by Great River Area Faith In Action (GRAFIA), located on Edgewood St. in Becker. 
Event Coordinator Lisa Kollar organized the event where volunteers from 10 communities spread out and come to the aid of senior citizens in their cities and towns.
Kollar had teams and individuals map out and visit homes located in Becker, Big Lake, Clear Lake, Monticello, Otsego, Elk River, Zimmerman, Princeton, Rogers and St. Michael. The groups arrived at homes — mostly in the morning — then spent several hours raking leaves, rearranging yards and hauling debris to a local compost site.
The weather cooperated with the sun showing up in the early morning hours and the temperatures soaring to the mid-fifties. Despite the blisters and sore backs, all of the volunteers were grateful and honored to provide a needy service to the local elderly.
The day concluded with the groups of volunteers attending a “Gather Round” at three local churches — Grace Lutheran in Becker, Resurrection Lutheran in Monticello and Elk River Lutheran Church in Elk River — to enjoy a meal and tell tales of how their projects transpired throughout the day.
“I heard from many of the volunteers that said it was a joy to serve,” said Kollar as she mingled with volunteers at Grace Lutheran in Becker. “I am so thankful to all the volunteers and the help they provided.”
GRAFIA was developed and exists to provide volunteer and caregiver support services to the local communities. To date, nearly five thousand people have given of their hearts in visiting, listening and sharing and using their hands and feet by raking, driving and cleaning. 
“I got to meet a lot of new people through this event and learned a lot about how their days went through conversations,” said Kollar. “We had no shortage at all in volunteers and all groups seemed to come away from Rake the Town feeling they helped out in some small way.”
Kollar and GRAFIA would like to thank all the volunteers, all the donators and all the churches that helped make the day a success. They’d also like to give a shout out to many people who couldn’t participate in the day’s event, but found a way to be part of it by donating rakes, pickup trucks and food for the workers.
For more information on Rake the Town or other GRAFIA activities, contact Lisa Kollar by phone at 763-263-4277 or by email at lisa@gra-fia.com.

photos


GET TO WORK! Rebecca Jacobs of Northstar Technology Solutions chatted with Tim Zipoy from Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services and Business Service Specialist Brad Durfee from Minnesota Job Services. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

BROWN FAMILY FARM. Jodi and Ben Brown, raise produce on land on Co. Rd. 15. (Submitted photo).

THE CAST OF CINDERELLA gave four outstanding performances at Big lake High School over the weekend in the first musical production the school has had for many years. (Photos by Jennifer Edwards).

Front row: Hailey Foss, Christina Kimmer and Ashley Lang Back row: Assistant Coach Todd Yurkew, Maria Yurkew, Hannah Heitz, Ariel Parnell, Megan Archambault and Coach Kevin Lang. (Submitted photo.)

BARELY RECOGNIZABLE, Assistant Principal Theresa Smock Potter, fifth-grade Teacher Karen Nelsen, Kindergarten Teacher Taylor Klausen and Principal Caryl Gordy sat still for the annual Pennies for Pies event which raised $2,748.46 for the Big Lake Food Shelf Monday afternoon. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).