By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Despite all the cancellations due to COVID-19 coronavirus, Oxford Gives Back is still planning their fifth annual spring clean-up, scheduled for the weekend of April 25-26. It is a student-led Oxford Schools organizations and they are watching policies closely.
“If anything changes in the next few weeks, we will be directly contacting those impacted,” said Student Coordinator Emily McClear, a 12th grader.
The event is planned entirely by Oxford Schools Early College Students and aims to beautify the community by providing free help with yardwork for elderly, disabled, impoverished or otherwise in need homeowners in Oxford, Addison and Orion.
“Oxford Gives Back goes beyond yard work,” McClear said. “We are giving back to the generations that built our community, promoting a culture of leadership and service, and building strong relationships across generations.”
This is McClear’s third year as a member of the student planning committee and second as the lead. The leadership team consists of 14 students.
The organization began four years ago when Early College Student, Jacinta Hogan, enlisted the help of her teachers and peers to help over 30 homeowners with the support of nearly 400 volunteers. Last year they helped 57 homeowners.
If you or someone you know is in need of help with spring yard work, please contact the Oxford Gives Back team to sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or call or text 248-605-0658.
They are adding homes until April 1, so homeowners are urged to reach out as soon as possible if they are interested in receiving help this spring.
Volunteer and homeowner slots are available between 8am-4pm on Saturday, April 25 and between 10am-3pm on Sunday, April 26.
So far 60 homes and 135 volunteers have signed up. The goal is to enlist 600-700 volunteers.
Volunteers make it all happen! Teams, groups, and community members of all ages are welcome to participate in a weekend of service and fun. Responsibilities of a volunteer include: reporting to the check-in center before your registered time slot, dressing for the weather and having a positive attitude. There is no deadline for volunteers to sign up.
Adults interested in having a larger role in the event can sign up as Site Leaders. Responsibilities of a Site Leader include: attending a virtual information meeting, contacting your assigned homeowner prior to the event weekend, and keeping volunteers excited and the event positive.
Local businesses or families looking to support Oxford Gives Back and have their logo or business name in social media, on t-shirts, and at the event check-in center have until March 27 to become sponsors. All sponsor donations are tax-deductible and provide volunteers with necessary tools and supplies.
All donations are used to maintain an inventory of over 150 rakes, shovels, hedge trimmers, gloves, and lawn bags, and to purchase the snacks, water and t-shirts for all volunteers.
“Thanks to sponsor donations, we are able to provide 100% free help with yard work for locals in need and only require volunteers to bring a positive attitude,” McClear said.
More information on how to become a sponsor can be found in the sponsorship packet available on the website, OxfordGivesBack.org.
Gifts in-kind are also greatly appreciated. Those wishing to donate food/drinks, goods or gift certificates can do so until the event date.
By James Hanlon