MANKATO — Henry Hanson was more than happy to show the volunteers around the yard.
Vines growing up the garage wall here, overgrown brush there. It all needed to be dealt with. But Hanson, at age 71, says he just doesn't have it in him anymore to go crazy on the yard work at his home on South Second Street.
So the volunteers got to work. They raked up brush and weeds and other random vegetation. They pulled all those vines off the garage. They even fired up a chainsaw and cut through some of the more stubborn growth causing problems in Hanson's backyard.
"Age has gotten the better part of my body," he said. "They do a great job," said Hanson, "and it's beneficial to the community."
The volunteers in Hanson's yard came from South Central College's Center for Business and Industry. They were taking part in the United Way's Day of Action by heading out with a crew from VINE Faith in Action. One of the things VINE has been doing for years is helping seniors with lawn care or odd jobs around the house. And Hanson's yard was on the list when the SCC volunteers took part in the Day of Action.
The Day of Action is a national event. The actual "day of action" is Friday, which is the summer solstice. But many United Way offices spread events and good deeds out over the course of a week. And in Mankato, they've got many businesses that want to take part.
Roughly 170 volunteers from more than 20 businesses are working with the United Way on projects this week for the Day of Action. This year projects are taking place with SMILES, the Salvation Army, MOMS, the American Red Cross, ARC of MN Southwest, Feeding our Communities Partners, Lutheran Social Service and Partners for Affordable Housing, Habitat for Humanity, Open Door Health Center, and the YMCA's Big Brothers and Big Sisters program.