The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


        Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity on Tuesday teamed up with BP Refinery for a one day cleanup effort in Harbor View.

        Over 50 BP Refinery employees, their families, and homeowners volunteered as part of the Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity’s Rock the Block program to perform small landscaping projects, remove trash and overgrown brush, and complete yard maintenance for residents that needed help in Harbor View. The cleanup effort started at 3 p.m. and lasted into the evening on June 5.

        “I am personally excited to get out and support our neighbors in their efforts to maintain and beautify Harbor View,” said Des Gillen, BP Refinery Manager. “Rock the Block exemplifies the can-do spirit of neighbors helping neighbors that helps build stronger communities.”

        Erin McPartland, development director at the non-profit Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, said the Rock the Block initiative is part of the organization’s repair program.

        “It’s a neighborhood revitalization effort that we have as part of our repair program,” she told The Press last week. “We’ll partner with a leader in a community, like we did with BP and Harbor View. We’ll find homeowners that are in need of some cleanup and light exterior repairs, and we’ll work with a large volunteer group. We’ll go into that neighborhood over one day, or a couple of hours, and do a really big cleanup.

        The organization has partnered with block watch groups, community coalitions, and the parks system to cleanup neighborhoods. “It really just depends on that area and who the community leaders are in that area,” she said.

        Usually, someone within those groups will contact Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity to organize a Rock the Block cleanup effort in their communities, she said.

        “We look for a community partner. With Harbor View, it was BP Refinery,” she said.

        The refinery is located just three miles from the village.

        “We have had a long standing relationship with BP. The company really likes to give back to communities in which they are located. Harbor View is a neighboring community. BP wanted to do some work there. We reached out to the Harbor View police chief and presented the idea to him. He helped us then to go out into the community and find the homeowners who would benefit from Rock the Block. So we pre-identified projects and pre-identified the homeowners. There was an application people filled out so we knew the work they wanted to get done. And it didn’t cost them anything.”    


A success

        BP provided financial support and close to 60 volunteers for the project in Harbor View, said McPartland.

        “We organized all the work, we took the applications, and we made sure all the tools and expertise was there. Then BP brought out their employees as part of their employee engagement and volunteer initiative.”

        The cleanup in Harbor View was a success, she said.

        “We did a ton of projects, and they rocked the work. We did a lot of brush cleanup. We took down a shed that was falling, which was a health and safety hazard. We did a lot of tree trimming and overgrowth trimming, and cleaned up the exterior of a lot of houses,” she said.

        The Rock the Block program has been around for several years, she said.

        “Just last year, we partnered with BP to help clean up some of the Birmingham neighborhood area. We will be going back to Birmingham this year on September 8. There will be a different partner this time. We’re bringing other groups in from the community to volunteer for that effort.”


Spread the word

        She said her group is always looking for communities that would be interested in participating in Rock the Block.

        “We really love the program. We do a couple of them every year. We are always looking for neighborhoods to partner with. The more we spread the word about it, the better.”

        Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, which works in Lucas County, helps people of moderate income build their own homes alongside volunteers. Homeowners also attend financial management and home maintenance classes in order to be self-reliant and stable in their homes. The group also has repair programs to partner with low-income homeowners to provide health and safety related repairs.

        ReStore, located with its offices on Conant Street in Maumee, sells new and gently used building materials, furniture and appliances to the public, with all profits supporting the group’s two programs.

        Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity is celebrating its 30 year anniversary this year. It has served over 700 individuals, including 471 children, since 1988.




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