Community volunteers beautify classes for the elderly in Berea

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BEREA, Ohio – Volunteers equipped with rakes, tarps and a selfless spirit of giving gathered in Berea on November 20 to help elderly residents by clearing their leafy lawns.

Residents 60 years of age or older, or those with disabilities, qualified to have Berea Community Outreach provide the free leaf pickup service, which takes place once a year in November.

Despite the freezing cold temperatures, dozens of volunteers of all ages converged on the former Smith Elementary School, collecting homework and visiting various neighborhoods. Some of them formed caravans to get to each address. The leaves were raked up to the lawns of the trees at the curb to allow the elimination of the municipal service.

Natalie Guzzo, Social and Seniors Services Administrator for Berea Community Outreach, spoke to cleveland.com just before the event. She expected 50 to 60 people to lend a hand, noting that 40 students from Baldwin Wallace University had raked more than 20 meters the previous week.

“This is part of our grass, leaves and snow program for low-income seniors and people with disabilities,” Guzzo explained. “Some of these elderly people cannot leave their homes, or if they can, (raking) is difficult for them. It is not easy to do all this gardening work.

She indicated that unfortunately there are seniors without family or friends to help them with seasonal chores outside.

“It is definitely a necessary service that we are providing, and they are very grateful,” Guzzo said.

“They always call to say thank you,” she added. “They really appreciate every little help we can give them.”

For more information on Berea Community Outreach, contact Guzzo at 440-826-4891, or by emailing nguzzo@cityofberea.org.

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