Savannah Organizations step up Hurricane Matthew clean up efforts around town

Faculty and staff from South University along with other volunteers helped to clean up Savannah neighborhoods this week. (Credit: Josie Gregory)

More than 20 volunteers from across Savannah banded together this week to clean up the streets and neighborhood after Hurricane Matthew slammed the city last Friday and Saturday.

Michael Pahno works at South University. He volunteered his Thursday to trim trees, pile up debris, and help clear the street in Cuyler-Brownsville neighborhood. He never imagined the damage a category two hurricane would do to Savannah.

"I was here in 1979 for Hurricane David. My family and I evacuated. When we came back, it was not this bad. It was somewhat shocking," Pahno said.

Mayor Eddie DeLoach said the city may not be back to normal in weeks, but Pahno and other volunteers are optimistic they are helping speed up the process.

"These are our friends, these are our family members. This is our community, and this is why we're here," he said.

The week's cleanup efforts were put together by Loop It Up Savannah. Loop It Up Savannah is a children's art program, but saw a community need and decided to fill it.

Molly Lieberman is the founder and director of Loop It Up. After returning to the city on Monday, she said she was overwhelmed by the mess Hurricane Matthew left behind.

She said she tries to make it her mission to do anything and everything she can in the community. She said that is what community means to her.

"In a time where things kind of fall apart after a big storm like this, I think a lot of people are feeling helpless. We're just trying to work together, to pull together," she said.

As for Pahno, he is just glad to help the city he has called home for the last 45 years get back on its feet.

"I see people of all colors, of all creeds, of all orientations working together to get our city back in order," he said.

Also, in addition to the cleanup effort, Loop It Up Savannah hosted a block party for neighborhood kids, who are currently out of school until Monday.

They offered crafts, games, and bag lunches. Lieberman said most kids get their breakfast and lunch from school, and without school this week, she felt the need to feed them.

If you would like to help out with the clean up effort, or have a day out with your kids, Loop It Up Savannah will be in the Kayton-Frazier neighborhood Friday starting at noon.

They will be offering games, crafts, and bag lunches again.

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