On Sunday, Nov. 15, the Ford County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and the Dodge City Community College baseball team once again partnered for Fall Clean-Up Day, which is an annual service project that provides Dodge City area senior citizens with help around the house.
Each year on Fall Clean-Up Day, volunteers assist area senior citizens with small projects, which include minor repair jobs, winterizing homes, exterior caulking, cleaning gutters, draining outside faucets, yard work, trimming bushes, or even simple things like replacing light bulbs.
This year, there were 18 households on the list.Originally known as Make a Difference Day, Fall Clean-Up Day began in 2005 during Phil Stephenson’s first semester as DCCC head baseball coach.
"This all started my first fall here," Stephenson said. "I wanted to start something with the community to show that the baseball program was going to be involved."Stephenson said he wanted to find a way for the team to give back to the community, and he soon discovered that working with Ford County RSVP was a good way to do it.
Fall Clean-Up Day brings a lot of joy to the seniors, he said. The baseball team is able to do jobs in a short amount of time that seniors would have needed days or weeks to accomplish on their own, if they were in fact able to do them at all.
"Our players benefit in seeing how much they can get done in a short amount of time working together," he said. "This is their small way of giving back to the community while they are attending school here and playing baseball."
Charlotte Neuschafer, director of Ford County RSVP and the Child and Adult Care Food Program, said she thinks this year’s Fall Clean-Up Day was well attended and ran smoothly—and she would like to give Coach Stephenson "a great big thank you" for sharing his years of Fall Clean-Up Day experience with her.
"We had 33 baseball players, plus Coach Stephenson and Assistant Coach Egger," she said. "So, we broke into four teams this year. Each team was given trash bags, masks and work gloves."
In addition to members of the DCCC baseball team, RSVP administrative assistant Ann Taylor (and husband Chuck), and Neuschafer (and husband Larry) also helped out with the event.
Looking forward to next year’s Fall Clean-Up Day, Neuschafer said donations are always welcome.
"Donated funds can help cover the cost of trash bags and other supplies. And donated yard tools, new or used, can help us put tools in the hands of every volunteer," she said.
"In many situations, the seniors would have to pay out of pocket for completing these projects, if it wasn’t for our baseball players and coaches," she said. "In a world that is so divided in so many areas, it warms the heart and soul to see young men volunteer themselves to our seniors."
Anyone wishing to know more about Fall Clean-Up Day or the Ford County RSVP program, may contact Neuschafer at 620-227-7077 or 620-338-6412.