For the third year in a row Better Family Life (BFL) will continue its Operation Clean Sweep initiative on Saturday, June 29. The organization will be demolishing abandoned buildings, cutting down dead trees and cleaning up rubbish on the North Side of St. Louis.
“We want to make this a walkable neighborhood where crime is something of the past,” said Malik Ahmed, founder and chief executive officer of Better Family Life.
Last year, hundreds of volunteers from the community participated along with professionals from McCarthy Building Companies, Paric Corporation and many other businesses within the Regional Business Council.
“Paric is committed to moving the St. Louis region forward, by leveraging the talent and experience of our people for causes to keep making maybe for results,” said Howard Hayes, vice president of Diversity and Inclusion at Paric Corporation.
Last year over 100 Paric employees participated in the Clean Sweep, joining 3,005 associates and 1,500 community volunteers, according to Hayes.
“This was the ideal opportunity for us to roll up our sleeves bringing down abandoned homes and cleaning up vacant lots to supporting our friends and families,” said Hayes.
Started in 2017 with the goal of cleaning up just a couple of neighborhoods, Clean Sweep now started the year off with the aim of making crime-infested communities safe.
“Many of you don’t know necessarily the connection between the work that you are promoting, the demolition of a building and the cleaning up of derelict buildings,” said St. Louis Police Chief John W. Hayden. “Those are always a nest and haven for violent crimes. You are directly responsible for getting rid of those crime havens that are such a challenge to deal with.”
Operation Clean Sweep has demolished over 75 vacant buildings and cleared over 500 miles of alleys of trash, tires, refrigerators, couches and abandoned cars, according to James Clark, vice president of Community Outreach of Better Family Life.
“We are all saddened by the conditions of the neighborhoods that showed us love and protected us as we grew up,” said Clark. “Today, women and children are shot and killed, senior citizens are living as prisoners, and vacant building span block after block.”
State Senator Karla May (D-St. Louis) said that the Clean Sweep Initiative is something that the city needed.
“We should work together to eliminate the things that divide us and focus on the things that unite us,” said May. “We should be willing to go anywhere in this city and see people interact outside cafes, restaurants, shopping, and our senior citizens should not be afraid to leave their homes. We should relish in the gaiety and children playing absent of gunfire. That’s what a better family life is.”
Better family Life’s Clean Sweep 2019 is set to start on Saturday, June 29 at Hamilton Heights and Wells-Goodfellow. The Clean Sweep is scheduled 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with registration opening at 7:30 a.m. and welcoming remarks at 9 a.m. It will continue at different locations every month until September.
For more information on Better family Life, visit http://www.betterfamilylife.org or call 314-367-3440