Several neighborhoods in the Town of Marana got a facelift Saturday, after hundreds of residents turned out to live up to the goals of the national Make A Difference Day.
The town partnered with local churches and nonprofit organizations to organize the cleanup efforts, where an estimated 500 volunteers pitched in to spruce up local neighborhoods and truly make a difference in the lives of local citizens.
The volunteers worked on 30 community projects in the Honea Heights, Marana Estates and Adonis neighborhoods.
Projects included light property maintenance, landscaping and general cleanup.
Volunteers started lining up at Ora Mae Harn Park around 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Volunteers from all age groups lined up in work clothes, some with shovels and gardening tools in hand, and all with an eagerness to get started.
Entire families, as well as couples and individuals volunteered, so the groups were split up into teams and given assignments.
One of those volunteers was Chrissie Helfin, of the Red Rock subdivision in Marana. Helfin, her husband and three children were ready to work.
“This is a good thing to do for the community,” Helfin said. “I want to set an example for my children. They learn from watching others. With this experience they will learn how to serve others.”
Dan Kreutz, a newcomer to Marana, echoed Helfin’s sentiments about the importance of volunteering.
“I just want to do something to help the community,” he said. “I want to be able to set a good example for my kids to follow.”
After signing up, volunteers were welcomed by Marana Mayor Ed Honea, who said he was overwhelmed by the amount of support shown by the community.
“The Town of Marana is truly interested in clean parks and neighborhoods,” he said.
Honea also recognized T VanHook, the town’s community development director, for coordinating the entire event.
Before Saturday, Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson said he was excited about the amount of time and energy that went into planning the event.
“This is an event that shows you’ve got people who are truly interested in helping the community,” he said. “People want to help.”
Besides a neighborhood cleanup, volunteers also tidied up yards for residents who are physically unable to, said Davidson.
With teams shuffling from the park into their designated assignments, the crews worked from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. before returning to the park, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints provided lunch.