Winterization is a community service project in which students from Purdue University assist in preparing the yards and homes of the elderly and disabled in Tippecanoe County for winter. Winterization 2019 will take place on the morning of Saturday, November 9th. Volunteers will rake leaves, clean gutters, wash windows, trim shrubs, and do other winterizing tasks for the residents. Conversation with the residents is also important, as many are unable to leave their homes regularly and have few visitors. This year we are hoping to have over 400 residents who are eagerly awaiting for us to “Winterize” their homes.
For many years, a high school in Greenwood, Indiana has sponsored a similar project. In the Fall of 2002, a Purdue freshmen named Lauren brought the idea to West Lafayette. As an active member of Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry, Lauren inspired her new community to lead this project. The first year, in 2002, saw thirty volunteers serve ten homes. Growing every year, by 2005 we had 120 students serving 40 homes. In 2007 we had 234 volunteers serving more than 90 homes. In 2008 and 2009 we held steady both years at approximately 325 volunteers and just over 100 homes. In 2010, we had 481 volunteers serving 133 homes! In 2011 we had 584 volunteers service 183 homes. In 2012 we had 871 volunteers serve 228 homes! In 2013, we had 1234 volunteers serving 256 homes! By 2015 we had grown to over 1,700 volunteers serving residents at 338 homes. In 2017, we served 365 homes, and our collection of rakes grew to over 1000! In 2018, we served a record high 375 residents with a hearty crew of 1,300 volunteers!
Many student groups have co-sponsored this activity with Wesley at times in the last six years, including: Baptist Foundation and Purdue Collegiate Ministry. Student participants come by themselves, with groups of friends, and also through their student groups.