United Way volunteers pitch in to polish up porches for Eastside seniors

Forty-five volunteers from United Way are renovating the exterior of six homes on Jacksonville’s Eastside on Van Buren Street.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Forty-five volunteers from United Way are renovating the exterior of six homes on Jacksonville’s Eastside on Van Buren Street.

The United Way wants to help this community feel more at home in their houses. The Eastside is known as one of Jacksonville’s oldest historic neighborhoods with a storied African American history. Giving back to this community is one of United Way’s main projects.

One of the longest-living residents on the Eastside, homeowner Cleveland Sinclair, shared his thoughts on the project.

“I feel good about it knowing that it’s a lot of people not only me who love the Eastside of Jacksonville,” said Sinclair.

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Sinclair and his wife are the oldest living married couple on the Eastside and have lived on the Eastside since 1972.

United Way is working on six houses to touch up them up and make them safer. Cleveland Sinclair's home is one of the six that will be getting renovated.

Exterior painting, yard work and planting are just some of the work being done to these six homes. Sinclair is even getting a railing installed for the steps on his front porch, so he and his wife are safer.

This project is known as the Front Porch Project, helping fix up the exterior of homes and making them look good as new.

Kim Scuri with the Episcopal Children’s Services shared her thoughts as well on the Front Porch project.

“We wanted to be a part of contributing and helping with this community. I’ve thought the Front Porch Project is amazing,” Scuri said. “You go by people’s homes and you’re like, ‘They need a little bit of help. They just need a little hand.’ And we have a bunch of able bodies who can do it.”

As we celebrate eight years of shining a spotlight on people and organizations making positive difference in the community, volunteers with United Way are on the Eastside making a positive difference.

Sarah Henderson, Director of Marketing and Communications of United Way, gathered the group of volunteers at 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning at Flossie Brunson Eastside Park. Not long after, the volunteers got to work.

“On the Eastside specifically, we wanted to give some love to a wonderful neighborhood, a culturally rich neighborhood that also needed some love, some help and some repairs,” said Henderson. “We wanted to specifically focus on senior homes today and give them a helping hand.”

The focus of the project was senior citizens who could not do the work on their own. The volunteers from United Way are helping to make a difference in their lives and their community. An effort that we recognize is #PositivelyJax.