By Kurt Hauglie
HANCOCK - Debbie Mann is hoping to get a huge turnout on Oct. 26 in Hancock to clean up the city during national Make a Difference Day.
Begun more than 20 years ago by the creators of USA Weekend Magazine and the Points of Light volunteer organization, there are thousands of projects in communities around the country attracting volunteers, according to the Make a Difference Day website makeadifferenceday.com/about-make-difference-day.
Mann, who is a member of the Hancock planning commission, and organizer for Make a Difference Day, said when she lived in Appleton, Wis., she would often read about Make a Difference Day in the weekend Parade Magazine.
"It's the nation's largest volunteer day," she said.
After moving from Wisconsin, Mann said she started thinking some sort of Make a Difference Day effort would be good for Hancock.
"What I would like to see is a long-term beautification of the city of Hancock," she said.
The plan for Oct. 26 is to have volunteers meet at 10 a.m. at Finlandia University's Quincy Green next to the Finnish American Heritage Center on Quincy Street, Mann said. Cookies and cider will be served.
It's hoped hundreds of people will volunteer, Mann said.
Mann said she's made some preliminary calls to get some commitments for Make a Difference Day, and she got the Hancock Public Schools, and students from Michigan Technological University and Finlandia University involved, as well as some churches and service organizations.
"What we're hoping to do is help elderly people who can't clean their yards," she said.
Mann said the plan is to also clean up city parks, streets, and other public areas.
The Hancock Department of Public Works will provide bags for trash and recyclable material, Mann said.
"We are asking people to bring work gloves and a rake, if they have one," she said.
Mann said besides cleaning up Hancock, the purpose of Make a Difference Day is to get residents, especially children, more involved with the city.
"It's to try to instill some sense of pride and ownership in the community," she said. "This is a beautiful tourism area."
To volunteer for Hancock's Make a Difference Day, e-mail Debbie Mann at damannpa@yahoo. com.
Bonnie Holland, executive director of the Finlandia University Jutila Center for Global Design and Business, who is also a member of the Hancock Downtown Development Authority, said at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 9 there will be an update of the Reshape Downtown project, which began about a year and a half ago.
There will also be a list of projects for Make a Difference Day.
"It will be an opportunity to sign up on a volunteer sheet," she said.
Holland said the Reshape Downtown update will include information about the remodeled wall on Front Street at the north end of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, the status of the repair of the historic stairs in east Hancock, the status the Navy Street board walk and which buildings downtown have had facade work done.