On a cold, snowy “Spring?” Cleanup Day, under the direction of Tioga County Rural Ministry, 40 intrepid volunteers from Tioga, Broome and Tompkins Counties would not be cowed by the wintry elements. With smiling faces and ready hands and hearts they ventured out into the town of Owego and Apalachin to help their senior neighbors who were in need of some assistance – from dusting, vacuuming, spot cleaning and window washing to laying down mulch, clearing gardens, picking up sticks and twigs to trying to rake leaves through the snow, these hardy workers from Owego Free Academy and Candor High School, Binghamton University, Ithaca College and Cornell, along with volunteer drivers/supervisors worked at 41 sites.
Sr. Mary had the opportunity to sit down with Ithaca College and Cornell students, inviting responses to the question of why they volunteer to help. Teresa Clark’s response was immediate: “The people are so welcoming and appreciative.” Cassandra, a grad student from Cornell spoke of her own personal need to do community service. She experienced the fulfillment of this need last year and so wanted to return. Nolan Hurst of Ithaca College noted that this is his third year coming: “The community that’s built here is a one of a kind thing. It is awesome and inspiring.”
We at Tioga County Rural Ministry, are so grateful for these young adults who are willing to lend a hand. We also want to honor the 30 adult volunteers who made this day possible by visiting sites beforehand, preparing lunches and serving as drivers/supervisors. Our thanks is extended to the First Presbyterian Union Church for allowing us to use their kitchen for lunch preparation, and to its members, along with Kiwanis and Rotary members who supplied food and materials for lunches.