A group of more than 200 volunteers met at 8 a.m. in Danville last Saturday on a crisp morning, before many even think about getting out of bed on a weekend.
They were there to participate in the town's Lend-a-Hand project, an annual program now in its 11th year that matches community volunteers with Danville seniors who need help with their yards.
"This project exemplifies our small town atmosphere, outstanding quality of life and sense of community," Councilman Newell Arnerich told the enthusiastic group. "You will be helping people today that you do not know but will be making a big difference in their life for a brief moment."
The 200-plus volunteers completed 34 projects last weekend. The program has grown significantly since its first year in 2003, when 15 volunteers completed three projects.
Examples of the kind of work done included yard maintenance like weed pulling, tree trimming and flower planting, in addition to other jobs such as repairing fences, draining and filling a small pond, and painting a gate. No matter the job, the volunteers seemed happy to help their new friends.
"You are each making a difference in the lives of local seniors," Arnerich told the volunteers. "Many have lived in their Danville home for decades, and are in a situation where it is challenging to keep up with yard work and repairs. Some have lost their spouse or do not have family nearby to help."
People interested in volunteering or receiving yard-work help next year through the Lend-a-Hand program should contact Diana Tucker, program coordinator at the Danville Senior Center, at firstname.lastname@example.org.