More than 100 Jackson High School students helped city residents rake and dispose of their yard waste Saturday, helping solve a problem that for some, started back in August.
"It was talked about everywhere; the leaves were the talk of the town," said JHS senior Michael Funkhouser. "We had a solution for it and all of a sudden it just blew up."
The problem: the city's August elimination of its leaf collection program, after the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled the city's storm water fee illegal.
The solution: JHS students would do the yard work for free, encouraging donations.
"If we make any amount of money and help any amount of people with their leaves it would be a success," said Funkhouser.
Twenty-two teams of students dispersed around the city to do the yard work, raking and bagging leaves before taking them to dumpsters.
"A lot of people need help getting the leaves raked up," said Michael Benedetto, a junior. "With all the leaves that have fallen recently, all the yards are completely full and this is a great help to the community."
Upperclassmen and underclassmen alike participated Saturday morning.
"I guess because the community cares about the school, we have to give back and we just do all that we can to help them," said Joel Chirackal, a freshman.
Proceeds from donations go toward the school's annual Thanksgiving Giving campaign. The school says it will use the money to buy canned food to donate to the Salvation Army.
"Bottom line is it's heartwarming to see our kids value their community, value understanding and grasping that, one alone cannot do it, but when you pull together an army, we can accomplish much," said JHS Principal Barbara Baird-Pauli. "It really is a community pulling together to solve a community issue."
Students say they raised more than $2,000 Saturday, which will go toward their goal of donating 100,000 food items to the Salvation Army.