Hackensack Clean-Up Day Lets Neighbors Help Neighbors Maintain Their Yards
The city of Hackensack has found a way to help its residents stay on top of keeping their yards clean this summer.
Many city ordinances require residents to keep a neat and tidy yard and that if that can’t be followed, sometimes a penalty is enforced. But Hackensack mayor Bill Kennedy said they decided to follow the barn-raising model.
“If everybody comes together, you build a barn in a day kind of thing,” explained Kennedy. “Well, we didn’t want to be a city that comes down and says, ‘You have to do this and we’re going to punishing upon you to do,’ you know, we don’t want to be that kind of a city. So we thought, ‘Well, what if we do this where we help everybody instead of punish everybody?'”
To get the word out about the Neighbor Helping Neighbor Community Clean-up Project, volunteer chair Susan Kimmel sent letters to a number of community members, which allowed them to send information back about doing specific jobs like raking leaves, picking up yards, hauling trash, cutting wood, washing windows, and anything else that could make life easier for them.
“Most of the people were so excited about getting help,” said Kimmel. “There are people that had physical limitations that hadn’t really gotten to their lawns in years. There were other people that were, they were just really busy and they had projects that they have not been able to accomplish, so we helped with that.”
One volunteer we spoke to said it was great to help other people and clean yards, but that it was more important to be able to build relationships with fellow workers and homeowners and to make new friends.
“A lot of the helpers we have today, I don’t know ’em,” said volunteer Linnea Dietrich. “So now, I’ve gotten to know them too, and it just strengthens the whole fabric of our community, and that to me is the beauty of it.”
Earlier this month, 50 volunteers helped complete 18 projects in two days.