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United Way’s Day of Caring Targets Blight on Youngstown’s East Side - WKBN

It was a busy day for hundreds of volunteers cleaning up the east side of Youngstown. The annual United Way Day of Caring drew in more people than ever before. The WKBN 27 First News team was also out working on Friday. There was plenty to do, from cleaning up the sidewalks and vacant houses to landscaping. “When the house next to you is all blighted and overgrown, it’s kind of depressing,” said TJ Rodgers, Second Ward Councilman. “Having everyone come out, chip in, and clean up these blighted houses and clear off the sidewalks, it just helps people take pride in their community.” The 2017 United Way Day of Caring kicked off at 8 a.m. and the almost 800 volunteers hit the ground running with shovels, clippers, and rakes in hand to “Fight the Blight.” 

“Cleaning the sidewalks, making them safe for pedestrians, clearing the vacant lots, cleaning up vacant houses, demolishing vacant houses,” said Ian Beniston, with the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation. All so east side residents have a safer way to get around and can be proud of the neighborhood they live in. “It’s amazing to see all these people just pulling together, volunteering their Friday, taking off work or whatever it is they do for a living, and coming out just to clean and beautify the east side,” Rodgers said. A new welcome sign at Oak and Garland streets was installed to greet residents and visitors. “I think the focus of working on a specific area of Youngstown — cleaning up neighborhoods, taking out homes — has really engaged the community,” said Bob Hannon, president of the United Way of the Mahoning Valley. “When you see the neighborhoods we clean up before and after, it’s amazing. I think that is what excites the volunteers, to see what it looks like when they are done.” Last year, the Day of Caring’s focus was along Market Street. Over 800 cubic yards of debris was removed and 500 cubic yards of trash hauled away. To read the full story from WKBN, click here.