Volunteers to clean up ballparks in five cities
Baseball and volunteerism are American traditions. So it is fitting that volunteers will help spruce up neglected ballfields this spring to make them suitable for youths in need of recreational facilities.
The “Great American Cleanup” will begin during National Volunteer Week, April 19-25. Hygrade Food Products, the Southfield, Mich., manufacturer of Ball Park franks, has awarded five $10,000 grants to organizations in five metropolitan areas to clean public ballfields.
The company agreed to co-sponsor the cleanup in response to last year’s “President’s Summit for America’s Future,” which called on corporations and citizens to help provide children with structured activities and safe places to play. The Washington, D.C.-based Points of Light Foundation will serve as co-sponsor and coordinate volunteer recruitment through its volunteer centers in the five cities.
Last fall, Points of Light volunteer centers announced the availability of the grants and accepted applications from local parks departments and community groups. Each center enlisted the aid of a judging panel to evaluate the entries and score the applications based on financial need and the positive community impact that would result from a refurbishment project. The grants were awarded for cleanups at the Nicetown Boys & Girls Club in Philadelphia on April 18; Sunnyslope Park in Los Angeles on April 25; Sherbondy Park in Opalaka, Fla., on May 9; L.C. Coleman Park in Charlotte, N.C., on May 16; and Palmer Field in Elyria, Ohio, on May 30.
The need for baseball park cleanups became apparent with the results of a nationwide survey the sponsoring company conducted last year. The survey showed that, although more than 80 percent of parents nationwide believe community parks and ballfields are important to the development of their children, 90 percent of those do not allow their children to play unattended at parks because of safety concerns and the poor equipment and grounds conditions.