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Homeless shelter residents plan cleanup

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
Homeless shelter guests have adopted several city streets around Rowan Helping Ministries.
The litter patrol, extending from the facility at 226 N. Long St., starts Thursday.
The idea hatched when several shelter guests and Kyna Foster, executive director for Rowan Helping Ministries, took a walk on Valentineís Day to enjoy the first spring-like day of the year.
The group of eight strolled along Shaver Street, which was littered with debris and trash, Foster said.
ěIt was excessive. One of the guests said, ëWe can clean this up. It would give us something to do while we are looking for jobs,íî she said. ěI thought it was a great idea.î
Foster sent a few e-mails when she returned to work and discovered the Salisbury Community Appearance Commission sponsors an adopt-a-street program. The city supplies bags, vests and gloves for any group willing to take over litter patrol on a city street.
ěThe shelter guests really feel that this is our neighborhood,î Foster said.
The New Tomorrows Program, part of Rowan Helping Ministries that meets at nearby Park Avenue United Methodist Church, will coordinate and provide labor for twice-monthly litter patrols along Council, Shaver and Liberty Streets.
Although Rowan Helping Ministries canít officially adopt Long Street, which is state-maintained, shelter guests will clean that stretch of road too, Foster said.
The city requires a group to clean the adopted roadway once a month for two years.
The shelter guests didnít think that was often enough, so they plan to clean twice a month ó the first and third Thursdays.
They also will pick up trash from three vacant city-owned lots across from Rowan Helping Ministries, Foster said.
ěShelter guests have a desire to give back to their community and be a part of this community,î she said. ěI get excited about the ownership they take in making this a nice place to be.î
When the city asked for help to plant 65 crepe myrtle trees along Park Avenue in December, officials set aside the whole day for the project.
Shelter guests knocked it out in less than an hour.
ěThey are making difference,î Foster said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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