PLEASANT HILL -- It is amazing how hometown spirits soar when residents pitch in to make their neighborhoods shine by volunteering for one of more than 20 community projects, according to Mayor Michael Harris, creator and founder of award-winning Community Service Day.
Churches, schools, service clubs, Scouts, seniors' friends and family members are invited to join the fun and good work at the ninth annual event Sept. 28.
"Neighbors get to know each other and it is heartwarming to see families working together," said Harris. "We have had three generations working together."
Volunteers can meet for a free pancake breakfast, courtesy of the Lions Club, and a free event T-shirt for the first 600 participants who gather at 7:30 a.m. at Pleasant Hill Park to select a project to work on.
Projects include gardening, painting, cleaning, bike and building repairs, collecting food donations and library organizing at locations throughout the city from approximately 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Materials are provided for projects that require them. Volunteers need only dress for work and bring tools appropriate for the task they choose. Gloves, pruners, clippers, rakes, shovels, wheelbarrow, brushes, trays or other tools could be helpful. Sunscreen, water bottle and a hat are recommended for outdoors.
"We have projects for all ages and skill sets, and project leaders to help guide your efforts," said Councilman Tim Flaherty. "I will be there, as I have been for the past eight years."
Civic Action Commission organizers are looking for volunteers to help 11 senior residents with simple yard cleanup they can no longer do themselves.
"This is the first year that we have included those projects. The seniors are so thankful that people are willing to help," said Sheila Cotruvo, commission chairwoman.
Volunteers handy with a needle and thread or yarn are needed to help create lap robes, quilts, baby clothes and other useful items for hospitals, nursing homes and shelters with craft leaders who will provide materials.
Bibliophiles may flock to the Pleasant Hill Library on Oak Park Boulevard to help straighten and organize.
The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is hoping volunteers will put together a door-to-door food drive in their neighborhood with the Girl Scouts.
A YMCA touch-up painting project or garden cleanup at 350 Civic Drive might fun for a family.
The Bike Build-a-Thon, supported by the Boy Scouts, is where donated bicycles are repaired to be given to deserving kids, and is always a favorite project.
There are also school-related projects, including the new Edible and Greco gardens that need a fresh start for fall at Valhalla Elementary School, 530 Kiki Drive.
Gregory Gardens Elementary needs help getting the campus back in order after the new HVAC installation. Volunteers with a chain saw, power washer and extension cords will be especially appreciated there.
Gardens need some tender loving care at Pleasant Hill Elementary, 2097 Oak Park Blvd., and at Pleasant Hill Middle School, One Santa Barbara Road. The Sequoia Elementary beautification project is all about garden cleanup, painting and building at 277 Boyd Road.
Kids and parents plan to beautify the grounds at Strandwood Elementary School by planting, weeding, fixing fences and painting for a transformation on Gladys Drive.
The transitional kindergarten classroom needs a fresh coat of paint at Fair Oaks Elementary School, 2200 Lisa Lane.
Creeks, parks and landscaped areas are also on the Community Service Day project list.
Friends of Pleasant Hill Creeks will meet to clean out debris at 800 Ellinwood Way, and help is needed to clean out a stream bed while learning water conservation and gardening tips at the Instructional Garden Project, One Santa Barbara Road.
Meeting other residents and sharing information about native plants and water-saving techniques is part of the fun, said Monika Olsen, Pleasant Hill Instructional Garden board president.
Volunteers are needed to scrub graffiti off Dinosaur Hill rocks or do some power washing and cleanup at the Mt. Diablo Center for Adult Day Care, 460 Golf Club Road.
Pruning perennials and shrubs is on the list for the Twin Towers beautification at Shadowood Park off Camelback Road.
A walk in the park will be more fun after new trees are planted at Pleasant Hill Park, or volunteers help create a grove of trees at Lucille and Stanwell streets at the Contra Costa Canal Trail. Join Rotary and Interact teens to spruce up Rodgers Ranch, 315 Cortsen Road.
Contact Dana Guzzetti at email@example.com.
What: Pleasant Hill's ninth annual Community Service Day
When: 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28
Where: Meet at Pleasant Hill Park, 147 Gregory Lane; Volunteers receive free pancake breakfast; first 600 volunteers get free event T-shirt
Information: To volunteer, sign up for a project, visit www.pleasant-hill.net/volunteer