Team Effort to Clean Up Salter Avenue

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Homes in one Rockford neighborhood will get some much needed TLC this week thanks to local and out-of-town volunteers.

“I’m struggling and to be buying a house to own, is an opportunity to have my kids in a safe place.”

Sonya Allen is grateful to the volunteers of Project Facelift. They’re going to paint the trim, fix the gutters and maybe even put in a new porch on her home on Salter Avenue.

Allen’s is one of a dozen or so homes on the street that will receive mini make-overs this week, thanks to a partnership between the city and the faith based group, Engage. Engage unites volunteers from across the country.

“It’s our desire to come in and organize something that’s better for the community long term and not something that stands on its own. So we know the work done will be maintained and is part of a bigger plan than what we want to do.”

Members of the New Zion Baptist Church say they’ve been planning big things in this neighborhood for years and welcome the extra help.

“If Rockford is going to change, it’s going to be neighborhood by neighborhood. We can’t expect some big grant or some major company to swoop in and take care of our problems. We have to take responsibility for that which we can control,” said Rev. Copeland, pastor at New Zion Baptist Church.

Copeland’s congregation plans to buy the vacant lot across from Allen’s home and transform it into a park for local kids. Allen says she looks forward to the changes in her neighborhood and she plans to get her hands dirty to make them a reality.

“I can’t help with money, but I can put my hands to work.”

The local non-profit, Kids Around the World will be building a new playground in that park. This is the third summer Engage has brought in middle and high school students to work on a neighborhood in Rockford. There are 170 kids in this year’s group.

Project Facelift kicks off tomorrow and more volunteers are welcome to pitch in. People interested in taking part in Project Facelift can meet at New Zion Baptist Church located at 604 Salter Ave.

Volunteers begin work around 9am and the work day should wrap up around 2pm.

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