Earth Week: Hilliard employees, community unite to assist neighbors

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group

Twenty-two Hilliard residents in the Avery, Beacon and Hilliard Heights subdivisions received many pairs of helping hands April 23 as part of the city’s first “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” community clean-up event.

Deputy City Manager Dan Ralley said the event, held in conjunction with Earth Week, has a dual purpose and is intended to become an annual event.

While the event promotes local clean-up efforts during Earth Week, it also focuses on bringing the community together, Ralley said.

Emily Russell, manager of Target at 1970 Hilliard-Rome Road, spreads mulch at the Paxton Drive residence of Janice Baum, during Hilliard's first Neighbors Helping Neighbors event.

“It’s all about helping our residents and connecting them to resources and other community members who want to help. We hope this isn’t a one-time event, but rather a continuing mission for the city,” Ralley said.

Joining city employees were volunteers from BMW Financial Services, Rock City Church, Hilliard Kiwanis, Hilliard Rotary Club and Target. The Home Depot donated landscaping materials and tools.

Although the city holds multiple clean-up events at parks and other public areas each year, Neighbors Helping Neighbors represents the first time coordinating efforts in a residential neighborhood, said Anna Subler, community relations administrator for Hilliard.

Finding the volunteers was not difficult, said Haley Bush, recreation supervisor for Hilliard.

“We’re very fortunate to have so many outstanding service-oriented volunteers who want to help. This wouldn’t be able to happen without them all coming together,” Bush said.

The city sent letters to the households in each neighborhood to help identify residents in need of assistance, Subler said.

Volunteers met at Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park then fanned out to the neighborhoods and worked in teams at each residence from 9 a.m. to noon.

Among those who received help was Janice Baum, 75, of Paxton Drive.

“It’s a godsend,” Baum said about the team of four women from Target who spread mulch in the front of the house.

Emily Russell, manager of Target, 1970 Hilliard-Rome Road, said the business “looks for ways to give back to community.”

Baum said she and her husband, Bill, have lived at the residence for more than 40 years.

“It would have taken us a month to do it, but they did it one morning,” said Baum, adding that the effort helps senior citizens who can no longer easier perform such maintenance “stay in their homes.”

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo