600 volunteers, 70 homes, 2 days

OHS students Antonia Vackaro (left) and Micah Dymond spread mulch in a flower bed at a Dayton St. home as part of the Oxford Gives Back work weekend. Photo by CJC.

They came. They saw. They served.

Approximately 600 volunteers spent Saturday and Sunday doing free yardwork and other chores at 70 homes in Oxford, Addison, Orion and Brandon townships as part of the third annual Oxford Gives Back (OGB) work weekend.

Folks who received assistance were thrilled.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Oxford Village resident Myra Myers, who’s lived on Dayton St. for 52 years. “Oxford’s a great community.”

“I want to express my deepest appreciation and thanks. God bless them,” said Don Steiner, who’s lived on Olive Rd. since the early 1980s.

“I think it’s a wonderful program,” said Oxford Twp. resident Clara Sanderson, who lives on Tanview Dr. “Thank you, thank you, thank you. I appreciate all that you did for me.”

Established in 2016, OGB helps senior citizens (age 60 and older), disabled individuals, people suffering from major illnesses or undergoing taxing treatments such as chemotherapy, low-income folks and single parents.

Basically, anyone who is unable to do yardwork themselves and/or cannot afford to hire someone to do it for them is eligible for this free program.

Services include raking, mulching, weeding, trimming, clearing debris, bagging and burning yard waste, preparing gardens, planting flowers and other outdoor chores.

“I used to be able to do all of it, but now, I can’t, so this a blessing,” Myers said. “You can’t imagine.”

“I’m getting to the age where I can’t do much of that outside stuff anymore,” said Sanderson, who served as township clerk from 1972 to 2008. “I almost didn’t call, but my son encouraged me to call.”

OGB’s army of helping hands included Oxford students (ranging from elementary to high school), school district employees, young athletes, parents, coaches, scouts, churchgoers, families and community members.

“We had some amazing volunteers that helped make my job a lot easier,” said Madison Sparks, a member of the OGB team and fourth-year Oxford Schools Early College student. “I’m pretty happy with how it went.”

“I think it’s exceptional that they’ve got these young people out here helping old folks and anybody else that needs it,” said Steiner, a World War II veteran, who came to Oxford from Clarkston in 1968. “This really is special.”

“I really want people to understand that not all teenagers just sit around and do nothing,” Sparks said. “A lot of them want to get out and help have an impact on the community. I saw that this weekend. I saw lots of sports teams, lots of my fellow students. For me, that was the most rewarding (part).”

“I was amazed at what they did,” Sanderson said. “They had all (of) their own equipment and they worked so well together. It was really nice to see the young people get together and do something like this.”

“I’m so proud of the kids and I have to applaud their parents for raising them (to serve others),” said Oxford Township resident Patricia Anne Matthews, who moved to Gibson Ave. last year after retiring from the Central Intelligence Agency where she had worked as a mission support administrator since 2008.

Overall, the OGB recipients were extremely pleased with the program’s results.

“I didn’t expect them to do as much as they did,” Myers said.

“My yard’s never looked so good,” Sanderson said.

Sparks said she’ll never forget “seeing the smiles on the homeowners’ faces.”


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