EAST PALESTINE - Village officials weren't sure if the annual Dog Days community cleanup event would take place this year, until a local woman stepped up to the plate.
Park Board member Sandy Wales agreed to fill the role of Dog Days committee chairwoman after Joann Knight stepped down for personal reasons.
Knight was on the committee since its inception about 11 years ago and stepped down months ago. Wales recently volunteered when it looked the event would possibly be canceled.
She was already serving on the committee prior to taking Knight's place, and didn't want to see the event fall by the wayside.
"It's really necessary for our town ... so I thought we really needed to keep it going," she said.
Dog Days began after first being sponsored by the East Palestine School District in 2003. The goal was to promote to local students the idea of giving back to the community.
The event gained backing from then-mayor Raymond "Sunny" Hull, who declared the second Saturday in May as the annual Day of Giving. The all-volunteer event has drawn support from hundreds of people and several businesses over the years.
Wales said 450 people participated last year and more than $700 came in through donations, which went toward the purchase of supplies and food for volunteers.
She is already anticipating more volunteers this year, and said Tony Foster, the new football coach at the high school has already pledged participation from the team.
Church and community groups, civic organizations and youth groups are encouraged to plan and design a project that their members can complete during the event, scheduled for May 11.
Areas targeted for cleanup at the park are the ball fields, volleyball court, playground and the walking trail, Wales said.
While the event is centrally located at village park, general cleanup and beautification projects will also occur throughout town, including at the Historical Society Log Cabin.
Volunteers are asked to sign in at the village park community center between 8 and 9 a.m. on May 11 before reporting to project sites.
A luncheon will be held for volunteers at the center between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., and food and beverage or monetary donations are requested to provide for this meal and for refreshments throughout the day.
Postal carriers will also be picking up food donations that day and residents are asked to place non-perishable food items in a bag by their mailbox. The donations will go to the local Social Concerns.
For more information contact Wales at 330-426-2045. Donations should be mailed to 127 Garfield Avenue, with checks made payable to Dog Days.