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Sam Cross | The Feather Online

Volunteers from around Fresno volunteered for a clean up in the Jefferson neighborhood near downtown Fresno, Feb. 25.

A group gathered on the corner of Jefferson Street, wielding rakes, shovels and garbage bags, Feb. 25. As more gathered, the group huddled together to open the day in prayer.

Flyers were passed out, and the crowd dispersed across the streets. Small teams of volunteers battled the overgrowth and trash that littered the sidewalks and gutters of narrow Jefferson East Street.

The clean-up was organized by volunteers in coordination with the upcoming Fresno CityFest festival, April 1-2.  To advertise the volunteer opportunity, leaders of the cleanup reached out to the community through Facebook and pastoral emails.

Volunteer coordinator of the cleanup, Marva Ward worked with the city to organize the CityFest sponsored cleanup. Ward appreciated the work the volunteers did for the community but felt they needed more time to clean the streets.

“I worked with Heather Aceves at the City of Fresno to help coordinate this event,” Ward said. “We did promote the event through an email blast to the pastors in the area, and also through social media, such as Facebook. I felt the clean-up went well. All of the rains that we have been blessed with have caused an overgrowth of the median areas, and three hours was just too short of a time for us to complete all of the work.

“When the Luis Palau Association is invited to a city to hold a CityFest, it is more than just one evangelism event,” Ward continued. “It is a series of events that are orchestrated with God’s Word and using His Spirit to incite change and the awareness of Jesus love throughout the city.  This yet love-filled service project that was held in the Jefferson East neighborhood is just one of many ways Fresno CityFest hopes to set examples of ways to share Jesus love with our neighbors all through the Central Valley.”

The cleanup brought a diverse group of volunteers out to Jefferson Street. Volunteers came from a variety of local churches and businesses including Copper River, Fresno First Baptist, Luz de Gloria, College Church of Christ, Fisher Street Life Group and Greenmen Lawn Care. High school students who needed community service hours also helped clean the sidewalks and gutters in the neighborhood.

Sam Cross

The downtown neighborhood cleanup was orchestrated in conjunction with the upcoming Fresno CityFest, April 1-2.

Attending the College Church of Christ, Stephanie Norby came out to the Jefferson cleanup with her pastor, Jason Locke. Norby believes that volunteers are the backbone of community service.  

“We have been talking about in church, and our pastor signed up, so I decided to come out,” Norby said. “There are three of us working in this group from our church, and we think there may be more signed up that we haven’t seen yet. I want to clean up Fresno a little bit and show the love of God to the people that we meet.”

Marketing coordinator for the Poverello House, Ricky Bravo sees a need for the people living in the community of Fresno. Bravo seeks to spread the love of Christ through volunteering and to reach out to members of his community.

“I came out to the cleanup today to help out because I see a need in the City of Fresno,” Bravo said. “Everybody needs a little love, and this is a good way to spread some love. I think the more you serve your community, the more connected you are to your community. If we are supposed to be spreading the love of Christ, we need to be connecting with people. Doing something as simple as volunteering is a good way to open that door to Christ.”

All over Fresno, there are many kinds of volunteer opportunities in the community that take place every day. There is a constant need for volunteers everywhere. The extra help that these volunteers bring will not go unnoticed, for their contributions are greatly appreciated. This clean up effort continues The Feather’s participation in the communities we cover motto.

Jefferson Street Clean Up from The Feather Online on Vimeo.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: Samuel Cross and via email: Samuel Cross.

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