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Thousands of Volunteers Descend on City Parks for Spring Cleaning

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TWC News: Thousands of Volunteers Descend on City Parks for Spring Cleaning
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An army of around 4,000 New Yorkers descended on the city's parks to give them a little spring cleaning Saturday as part of New York Cares Day. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

Volunteers got their hands dirty Saturday morning raking, painting and otherwise tending to Bissel Gardens in the Wakefield section of the Bronx when they could have been, say, enjoying the beautiful weather.

"It's nice like helping the community and cleaning it up," said one volunteer.

"For us to take a little bit of time to invest in our community, it's something that's going to be good for the entire Northeast Bronx," said Volunteer Brian Melford.

The volunteers are just some of the thousands of New Yorkers that did a bit of spring cleaning at city parks and gardens as part of New York Cares Day Spring. It's the largest volunteer day the non-profit New York Cares hosts in the five boroughs for revitalizing green spaces.

"It's important to take care for the space in which we live. The volunteers are coming to not only remove debris and clean up the space, make it not only nice to be in, but also to beautify it," said New York Cares Corporate Relations Manager Alisha Freeman.

It may not seem like a lot, but the work being done is much needed help for Bissel Gardens. The space is made up of five gardens that of course beautify the neighborhood, but also provide food to pantries, a farmers market, and are the sites of environmental and educational programs.

"For them to bring this number of volunteers on New York Cares Day Spring is an absolute bonus to us. The amount of hours that it takes to do what's getting done in a few minutes at a time here is just astounding," said Bissel Gardens President Jim Lane.

The volunteers may also help Bissel Gardens to a $3,000 grant. The prize challenge was started this New York Cares Day Spring as a way to encourage local volunteerism.

A chosen site in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island or the Bronx that got the most volunteers wins.

Challenge aside, New York Cares Day Spring was still a success.

"It makes me care more for the environment," noted a volunteer.

For more information, or for volunteer opportunities throughout the year, go to www.NewYorkCares.org.

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