Hundreds volunteer on "Make a Difference Day" - - Jackson, MS

Hundreds volunteer on "Make a Difference Day"

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By Cheryl Lasseter - bio|email|twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The Jackson Zoo grounds are much larger than they seem. On Saturday, about 400 volunteers trimmed brush, cleared logs, raked away debris, and manicured the grass.

"It's a hidden gem, it really needs love and care so people can come, work and play in it," says Emily Wilemon with the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service. "We really want to make the area accessible to families, so when they come out to the park they can do things like play football, Frisbee, and have a really safe environment."

Lots of surfaces, including cold metal fences and old wooden structures, are getting warmed up with coats of paint.

A crew of Americorps volunteers is sprucing up the train tunnel. "I've been here previously, I know people come and use it. It will be better for them, a good feeling," says Ivan Zavortink, Team Leader of the Americorps Vicksburg Campus.

The City of Jackson and Keep Jackson Beautiful also pitched in at the zoo.

Over in Midtown near Millsaps college, hundreds more volunteers brightened up some habitat houses. Entergy Mississippi is a big force behind the effort.

"Every year we work with Habitat to build homes. This year we're doing something different," says Haley Fisackerly, President & CEO of Entergy Mississippi. "All homes need maintenance. We're working with Habitat to go into some of those homes."

We even found workers tucked away in the attic, weatherizing the interior of some of the homes. Outside, they were painting. It's part of Habitat's preservation plan for the houses they build.

While the Entergy and Eaton employees work, they're mentoring some of the college students and Wingfield High students who are also taking part. "Planting blueberry trees, all that stuff," says Wingfield Junior Jarron Carter. "We're helping out, community service today."

Make a Difference Day is the largest community service day in the nation. 

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