Some of the county's needy have food and clothing. Winters Run and the Bush River are clear of trash. The Darlington area is a step closer to a new community center for treating drug and alcohol abuse.
Those are just some of the results of Community Service Day, an annualevent that gives Harford residents a chance to volunteer to help their communities.
During this year's Community Service Day, Oct. 12, key projects included Neighbors in Need, the cleanup of the Winters Run-Bush River area, and construction of the Wilson Center in Darlington.
Nearly 2,600 people participated in about 70 projects during last weekend's event and ongoing efforts such as food drives, said Mary Chance, the Community Service Day coordinator.
About 2,400 people participatedin 50 projects last year.
"It was just really a remarkable amountof work," said Chance, a Darlington resident. "It was a great success."
With the poor economy, volunteer agencies are finding that people are willing to donate their time if they can't afford to give money, Chance said.
"With the Wilson Center, it was difficult to raise money," she said. "But everyone we approached was willing to help in some way."
The Wilson Center was the main project for Community Service Day. Volunteers -- residents and skilled laborers -- planted shrubs in the gardens, painted the building and raised an addition, Chance said.
Some volunteers are expected to return to the center during the next several weeks to help complete work on it, Chance said.
A dilapidated 140-year-old house is under renovation to serve asa drug and alcohol treatment and counseling facility.
The projectwas expected to cost $200,000 to complete. But that figure has dropped to an estimated $30,000, thanks to work done by volunteers during Community Service Day, Chance said.
The house, next to the Grace Episcopal Church, is expected to open next year.
Another 250 volunteers, including members of the Community Coalition of Harford County,a group of homeowners associations, and the county chapter of the Izaak Walton League, a conservation group, gathered along Winters Run and the Bush River to pick up trash along the banks of the waterways.
The 20 volunteers from the Izaak Walton League collected nearly 60bags of trash along Otter Point Creek, a Bush River tributary, said Fred Gillotte Jr., league president.
The trash ranged from fishinglines, plastic sandwich bags and fast-food wrappers to tires, syringes and a car seat, Gillotte said.
For the Neighbors In Need program, individuals, groups and companies "adopted" needy families throughthe county Department of Social Services to provide them with food, clothing and school supplies.
Chance did not have an estimate on the number of families and sponsors who have taken part in the program. The program will go into full swing at Christmas.