BENTON HARBOR — Mike Maxwell spent his Wednesday out of the office, caked in mud.
And yet, the global senior category leader for KitchenAid couldn’t have been happier.
Maxwell was taking part in the ninth annual Day of Caring, where hundreds of KitchenAid volunteers ventured out to help several nonprofit organizations for a day.
“We love to get involved in the community,” Maxwell said between breaks. “These are things I like to take part in on a regular basis. It’s fulfilling for me to be part of the community in addition to working here.”
Maxwell and his group – who could be spotted in red T-shirts – did landscaping and minor repairs at the Morton House Museum in Benton Harbor. He and others stayed busy by mulching gardens, painting the porch, adding a new stone walkway and weeding.
At the south end of the museum’s property, workers mowed grass uphill and used chain saws to cut down overgrown trees and stumps.
What began nine years ago as a team-building event for the KitchenAid small appliance team has since grown into a global effort this year.
With more than 150 volunteers operating in Southwest Michigan, a total of 350 Whirlpool Corp. and KitchenAid employees volunteered around the world.
From helping out at a food pantry in Greenville, Ohio – where KitchenAid’s iconic stand mixer is made – to volunteering for children’s organizations in Australia, employees all over the world gave back to the communities they call home.
“It’s our first year making this event global,” Maxwell said. “It’s been fun to see everyone get actively involved, together.”
Locally, volunteers were set up at 13 nonprofits this year, including the Morton House, Mosaic Jobs for Life, Hanson Hospice and the R.E.A.D.Y. Taekwondo Academy. Each group began work at 7 a.m. and continued well into the afternoon.
Denise Reeves, board president for Morton House, said the yearly contributions have been immeasurable.
“They do things in one day that we can’t get done in a whole year or we would have to pay a lot of money,” she said.
The museum supplies the material, but volunteers bring their own equipment.
Over the years, Reeves said the annual event has evolved to the point where volunteers suggest adding more tasks than what is requested. The number of volunteers has also grown significantly.
“They’ve done everything from scraping the house to washing windows three stories up,” Reeves said. “It is so important. The goodwill this has created, I can’t even put a dollar figure on it.”
Contact: twittkowski@TheHP.com, 932-0358, Twitter: @TonyWittkowski