by Cori Hilsgen
Volunteers gathered on Oct. 12 for the 30th workathon fundraiser held for All Saints Academy.
Jobs were assigned and muffins were distributed. Each group of volunteers brought a plate of muffins to its job site as a token of appreciation. The peanut-free muffins were made by Mary Kay Pelkey, the school cook.
Volunteers worked in windy 50-degree weather. They raked and hauled away leaves, cleaned gardens and did many other projects to help people who had requested assistance.
The workathon is a service-oriented fundraiser held yearly. It gives students and families a chance to help with area needs and to raise funds for the school.
Several volunteers raked leaves at the home of Pete and Delores Giroux. Delores said they have been requesting help for about five years.
“We felt sort of foolish the first year requesting help, but our house is close to school and the kids liked it,” Delores said. “It is a nice service and the kids are always so good.”
David Nicoll and his two daughters – Ava, 6, and Grace, 5 – raked and bagged leaves.
“I think it’s a great program that helps our kids learn to give back to the community and to help people,” Nicoll said.
Nancy Ebel and her two sons – Henry, 9, and Eli, 11 – also helped rake leaves.
Ebel has been helping for 13 years.
“I am a seasoned worker,” Ebel said. “I enjoy it every year.”
Henry Ebel has been helping with the workathon for nine years. He said he enjoyed working in the gardens the most.
Sartell resident Chantel Braegelmann, and her family were busy raking leaves at the home of Herb and Darlene Bechtold. The Bechtolds have participated in the workathon ever since it began, first as volunteers and now they offer their yard as a location for students to do service work at.
“They are always welcome and it’s nice to see young families working together,” Darlene said.
This is the fourth year Braegelmann has volunteered with the fundraiser.
“The workathon is a great way to show the kids a sense of community and charity,” Braegelmann said. “My kids look forward to this every year because they enjoy meeting the homeowners. Karl Terhaar does a great job making it a fun experience for the students and families.”
Sophia Botz, 8, said her favorite job was raking. She also wanted to volunteer so she could help other people.
Students and families were on the lookout for school administrator Karl Terhaar dressed as “Leaf Man.” He was busy making surprise visits at job sites to offer words of encouragement.
Chairperson Denise Klein said volunteers included 70 adults and 101 children who completed or will complete 30 jobs. Klein, who has been chairing the fundraiser for four years, said some job requests such as washing windows will be completed at the end of the month. She said several ASA graduate students returned to volunteer for the fundraiser.
This year’s goal of $19,000 has been met. If students are able to raise $20,000, Terhaar has offered to dye his beard pink.
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people's stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.