Volunteers make a difference cleaning up area neighborhoods

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO - Hundreds of volunteers joined an effort known as Make a Difference Day by volunteering for neighborhood cleanups in University City and Jennings Saturday.

The effort in University City included an offer for anyone with an outstanding misdemeanor case to be given a second chance by volunteering.

Johanna Pimentel took advantage of the offer and was clearing yard waste Saturday morning.

“It feels rewarding,” she said.  “It feels good to get up this morning and come out here.”

Pimentel said she feared being arrested because she missed a court date and will now be given a new court date where a judge will consider her volunteering.

University City Councilman Rod Jennings helped lead the effort.  He said Better Family Life, Habitat for Humanity and several churches came together to make the effort possible.

“We’ve got seniors and those who are physically challenged and can’t take care of themselves and their properties, so I believe we should be our brother’s keeper,” said Jennings.

He believed the message sent to residents is that there are people who care about them.

Marci Mermelstein is the senior services coordinate for University City.  She said more volunteers will be needed to meet the needs of senior citizens.  She wishes every day could be a make a difference day.

“There is a need for volunteers and communities to pitch in on an ongoing basis,” she said.

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