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My Block, My Hood, My City Shovels Snow In Englewood After Weekend Storm

By Dong Jin Oh | December 11, 2016 1:31pm
 A handful of volunteers gathered in the streets of Englewood to shovel snow in a neighborhood of elderly residents.
A handful of volunteers gathered in the streets of Englewood to shovel snow in a neighborhood of elderly residents.
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Benjamin Thornburgh

CHICAGO — A handful of volunteers joined My Block, My Hood, My City in Englewood Sunday to help shovel snow and clear a path for elderly residents.

After My Block, My Hood, My City founder Jahmal Cole spoke to the president of the 74th & Princeton Block Club Association about concerns regarding the weekend snowstorm, he decided he would try and gather a team of volunteers to help shovel snow from elderly neighbors' streets.

Cole chose to clear the blocks stretching from 75th and Princeton, where a lot of "older leaders" live, he said.

Saturday afternoon, as snowfall began to thicken, Cole posted a Facebook status that read, "Chicago seniors need help shoveling all this snow!!"

Within hours, the post garnered more than 400 likes and 260 shares. Although he didn't know what the turnout would be, Cole brought ten shovels.

He began shoveling around 7:45 a.m. Sunday, and one by one people who saw the Facebook status arrived and joined him. Even people walking by pitched in and picked up a shovel to help.

Cole was most surprised by how many people from other parts of the city made the decision to travel to Englewood to help out strangers in another neighborhood. There were volunteers from Evanston, Wicker Park and Pilsen, Cole said.

"It's not a black thing; it's not a white thing," Cole said. "It's a Chicago thing. They showed up because they love Chicago."

Cole spent $250 on 10 shovels earlier in February to help clean up snow from neighborhood streets with "My Block, My Hood, My City" — a nonprofit group that takes teenagers from the city's South and West sides to explore neighborhoods they don't often get to see.

Cole said he will try to hold volunteer events like this more in the future.

"I would encourage people to hit up our website and let us know if they need any help," Cole said. "We want people to know we're an option they can choose."

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