Volunteer Group Battling Blight in Girardville

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GIRARDVILLE, Pa. -- A community in Schuylkill County is dealing with a lot of blight but volunteers have made it their mission to clean it up no matter how long it takes.

Many of the houses on a stretch of West Main Street in Girardville are abandoned. Some of them haven't been cleaned up in almost seven years.

That is, until volunteers from Team ROC came around.

ROC stands for "Restoring Our Community."

"A lot of people think, 'Oh, this isn't my property, I'm not going to fix it up,' but somebody needs to care for absent homeowners. We live here and we drive through here and we want it to look nice," said volunteer Alicia Rutkauskas.

Volunteers spent the day getting down and dirty from 9 a.m. on, ripping out weeds from sidewalks, and helping to spruce the area.

Rutkauskas came up with the idea for the grassroots organization herself.

"I thought that if we could get a group of people together, together we would make a much bigger impact than just one person," Rutkauskas said.

Neighbors have noticed a big difference because of all the volunteers' hard work.

"They've sprayed all the weeds and I mean they were spraying yesterday. My dog likes to go over there and do her business and they cleaned that all up. It looks really, reallly good. I like what they're doing," Sean Reynolds said.

This is the third time volunteers have hit the streets to clean up Girardville this summer and they say every time more and more people are joining in.

"We met two people today that will be part of our next effort and this is why we do it, to make things more of a cumulative type of thing rather than just us just coming in and doing it and then moving on," said volunteer Bob Alonge.

Volunteers say they'll keep coming back every month until they've cleaned up all of Girardville.


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