SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4)- Volunteers gathered on Saturday for the third annual Rake Your Heart Out event organized by NeighborWorks Salt Lake. 

Rake Your Heart Out connected 28 households in Salt Lake City’s west side with volunteers from Starbucks, Glendale Community Council, local residents, and other organizations who spent between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. raking up leaves and doing general yard work. The event continued this year after it was skipped in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were able to recruit 28 homeowners through Salt Lake City and Murray City,” NeighborWorks community engagement coordinator Jasmine Walton told ABC4. “It’s really just about giving back to the community and providing a service to either those who are elderly or disabled who have a hard time getting their yards cleaned.”

Walton said they start recruiting homes two months before the event date by advertising at senior centers and other locations. Homeowners also applied for eligibility to participate or were recommended by friends or family members. The event tries to stay focused on Salt Lake City’s west side but homeowners can be from any part of the county and still be eligible.

“Usually we have about ten homes or so,” Walton said. “This year we almost tripled it.” 

Seventy volunteers got together for a breakfast catered by Starbucks and discussed the plan for the day before breaking out into teams of five or ten depending and going out to people’s homes. Sutherlands of Salt Lake City also donated items for volunteers to use to help with the yard cleanup. Walton said the response from homeowners and volunteers alike was overwhelmingly positive. 

“The homeowners are always so grateful,” she said. “A lot of them tend to be elderly or those who have disabilities. It’s really a struggle for them to get out and get the leaves cleaned up in their yards in enough time before it snows.” 

Volunteers got something out of it as well because it was an accessible way for them to do something nice for someone before the holiday season begins. 

“We’ll assign them two to three homes because the volunteers just knock it out,” Walton said. “A team of five or six can do a pretty good-sized home in about 30 to 45 minutes.”

The Rake Your Heart Out event is a spin-off of an earlier event called Paint Your Heart Out where volunteers painted homes at no charge to the homeowners. Paint Your Heart out has been going for 35 years.