SALT volunteers to rake the town

SALT volunteers to rake the town
Lauren Rowe and Kinzie Gullikson rakes leaves together to gather them in a paper bag.

As the leaves finally started changing color for the fall season, homeowners found themselves breaking out the rakes and bags. For those who were unable to do so, the Sioux Falls volunteer event, Rake the Town, was there to help.

This past weekend on Oct. 29 and 30, volunteers from across the city knocked on the doors of those who had reached out to the organization for service.

Augustana’s own volunteer group, Service and Learning Together, joined in again this year and raked three yards within walking distance of campus.

With clear skies and no wind, the weather was perfect, and spirits were light for the student-led group to get to work with gloves, rakes and plenty of leaf bags. Music speakers were welcome, and classic rock was soon playing from one student’s phone.

Several members of the group were regulars to the scene SALT board representatives, in fact who all shared a simple passion for volunteering in their spare time. Many of them joined throughout the past years via invitations from affiliated friends and, fittingly so, the whole posse was welcoming to all ready for a chill morning of raking.

Junior Sabdi Bravo, a biology and modern foreign languages double major, and senior Camden Breitling, a nursing major, are co-chairs for monthly events in SALT and have been a part of the organization since their freshman years.

A few new faces were among them, though, including freshman Lauren Rowe, a nursing major who joined SALT at the beginning of the semester. Rowe said she found the raking work kind of relaxing.

“It just feels good to help other people,” Rowe said. “It can be really easy to stress out about everything going on in life, and sometimes I forget that there’s a world outside of Augie that I could be paying attention to.”

Both Rowe and junior Kinzie Gullikson, SALT’s meeting coordinator, (as well as Bravo, calling from the other end of the lawn) talked about various events they have done in the past while filling leaf bags, such as SALT’s monthly Service and Snacks events with free food and a small project like making dog toys for the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society.

After a couple of hours of steady work (besides a quick break to fetch a few more bags), two of the three yards were cleared with little mishap. At the final yard, however, volunteers were met with a huge maple tree still sporting all of its leaves.

Without a single reasonable leaf on the ground to rake, and no one home to ask to reschedule, the group called it a day.

For any folks familiar with raking chores, giving the earth a good combing is tiring work, and there always seems to be more leaves than originally planned, especially if one stubborn tree refuses to be compliant with homeowners’ calendars.

Yet, when the yard is finally clear, seeing a neat pile of large paper bags stomped and stuffed full of leaves ready to be taken away is satisfying. Hearing a sudden “thank you!” from the homeowner also is an unexpected and special reward in itself.