Spring cleaning came a few months early at the Harlem City Park despite unfavorable weather conditions.
Hands on Harlem and four AmeriCorps members organized a park cleanup event for Saturday as the final Martin Luther King Jr. project of the week.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature interfered.
Several groups were initially expected to participate, but the plans changed with the weather forecast. Some groups were called and told the cleanup had been canceled.
"We decided we weren't going to do it," said Julie Miller, the executive director of Family Connection of Columbia County, "but then a bunch of people showed up so we decided to do it after all."
The cleanup was originally scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.
Among those that first showed were members from Harlem's Boy Scout Pack 157, Brownie Girl Scout Troop 54 and the 1st Platoon Amazon Warriors with the Fort Gordon Youth Challenge Academy.
Miller said members from Hands on Harlem brought pizza and drinks to the volunteers for lunch and then everyone went back to work until 2 p.m., cleaning along the fence on the edge of the property and raking leaves.
The groups collected nearly 40 bags of leaves, Miller said.
"It made me feel good that they came out and did that even though the weather was not the greatest and, plus, for the confusion that we had," Miller said. "It shows that they were committed."
The volunteers had planned to build two park benches in front of the new Head Start and Community Connections Building that is under construction. Participants also planned to pass out disaster preparedness information to neighborhoods surrounding the park. Miller said those events will be rescheduled.
"What we want to do is build a sense of a community-service ethic among young people," Miller said. "That's our goal."
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