Maple Ridge Farms Employs Those 65 and Older for Holiday Season
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW)-- Each year Maple Ridge Farms employs more than 250 seasonal workers, recruiting mostly retired or those 65 and older for the season. The senior employees work on everything from gift basket assemble and distribution, to proof reading, working part time. Employees said the job starts off slow in August and picks up by December, requiring volunteers to work many weekends to get it all done.
Despite the heavy workload, the seasonal employees like Lenard Habeck return year after year to work. "Great place. Great place. They treat you like family, the boss is terrific. And it's so laid back. That's one thing. I like coming back because you meet a whole bunch of new people and get to have a lot more new friends,” Habeck said.
Cathie Ruder who is currently working her 18th season for Maple Ridge Farms, said she likes the time off during the summer, but is happy to work hard in December when things get busy. “My family works around this job because they know I love it so much. And we’ve changed our holiday get together because of my job here. They understand it makes me happy, and what makes me happy should make them happy,” Ruder said.
While Maple Ridge Farms looks to get their work done, they also strive to give seniors a good place to stay busy and make some extra cash for the holidays. Mary Kautz who has worked at Maple Ridge Farms for 16 seasons said she’s disappointed more places in the area don’t follow in the companies footsteps. "I wish there were more, and I wish there were more throughout the year and not just Christmas time. Because I think seniors have so much to offer and we don't get that opportunity. Except at Maple Ridge Farms. We love it here,” Kautz said.
Maple Ridge Farms hired 255 seasonal employees this year who will finish up work this week. Many employees said while they love their job, they are ready to be done for the holidays, but also can't wait to come back again in August for another season of work.