In early February, Jacinta Hogan called the Leader because she wanted to spread the word that Oxford Gives Back was looking for folks in need of a spring cleanup.
The response was overwhelming.
A total of 125 area homes are currently scheduled to receive free yardwork on the weekend of April 29-30.
Eighty-four of the homes are in Oxford, 31 in Orion, six in Addison and one each in Brandon and Clarkston. Two other addresses are still being confirmed.
“I am blown away,” said Hogan, a student in Oxford Schools Early College program. “This is exactly what I wanted. I was trying to reach out to people that needed help and I got the response I was looking for.”
Hogan is the founder of Oxford Gives Back, a community outreach program where people help people.
Last year, 32 homes owned by senior citizens in the tri-township area benefited from this program’s helping hands. Raking, mulching, weeding, trimming, clearing debris and other miscellaneous outdoor chores were performed by 350 volunteers, a mix of OHS students, employees and parents.
This year, Oxford Gives Back expanded its scope to include anyone who needs yardwork done, but is unable to do it themselves and cannot afford to hire help.
Hogan can hardly believe the program is going to help four times as many homeowners as it did last year.
“We’re going to have a huge impact,” she said.
She attributed the large number to the front-page story in the Feb. 1 edition of the Leader.
“You’re the reason we reached so many people,” she said. “Thank you so much for putting that out there.”
Hogan estimated Oxford Gives Back will need approximately 1,000 volunteers to do all the work required next month. She’s hoping community members of all ages will sign up to get their hands dirty that weekend.
“It’s not a huge commitment,” she said. “It’s just for a couple hours. And you can choose your time slot.”
Many of the volunteers will once again be OHS students, staff and parents, but Hogan said the school can’t do it alone and she wouldn’t want that anyway.
“It’s not an Oxford High School project, it’s an Oxford community project,” she said. “We need some help from the community.”
Folks interested in volunteering can sign up at www.oxfordgivesback.weebly.com. It’s open to all ages.
“Anyone (age) 14 and under must have a parent or a guardian there,” Hogan noted.
Hogan added that Oxford Gives Back is seeking sponsors this year to help pay for things such as yard tools, work gloves and t-shirts.