OCEANSIDE — A little corner of Oceanside, called Crown Heights, is looking better now, after members of the Carlsbad and Oceanside congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints organized a work party, during their annual event, the “Oceanside SUN” project, (Supporting Urban Neighborhoods)Nearly 250 members volunteered to help paint houses, clean up trash, remove debris and paint the local community center Oct. 27. Nearly 500 other volunteers, from Mira Costa College, Palomar College, El Camino High School and the Oceanside Police department, joined with them to help.
Oceanside Mayor Jim Woods said the SUN project really changes the lives of the people in Crown Heights, because they can take pride in their neighborhood when it’s cleaned up and has a fresh coat of paint on some of the homes. “I want to say thank you to the Latter-day Saints, because they are always the biggest group to come out, so thank you, thank you, for what you do year after year, it makes a difference.”
One young mother who lives on Division Street, Gabriella Maldonado, was extremely grateful for the 30 people from Carlsbad third ward, who completely changed the look of her home. First, they dragged mounds of trash; old tires, a huge roll of carpet, old TV sets, etc, out of her backyard and into the street. (The trash was left there in the past few years, first, by her brother, and then ex-husband) The city of Oceanside sent a work crew with a back hoe, to take all the trash away. Once the mess was out of the yard, the volunteers quickly began painting her house to give it a great new look. She even picked up a roller herself to help put a coat of paint on the sidewall of her house.
“I’m so blessed that they can come and help me,” Maldonado said. “It’s a big help, and I could never have done it myself, and I love it.” She’s glad that now her children will be able to play in the backyard, because it is free of all the trash.
One of the youth volunteers, Moises Flores a member of the Oceanside fifth ward stood on a tall ladder to paint the trim of a duplex on Grant Street. He was there with the youth of the Oceanside third and fifth wards, who came out to help paint.
“We have a lot of fun, and we paint and socialize, but at the same time, we’re getting the community cleaner, and we’re beautifying the community,” he said.
Oceanside City police Officer Matt Lyons patrols the streets of the Crown Heights neighborhood everyday on the job. He knows the families and the children who live here. He called the SUN project, “Fantastic. I think it lifts morale it lifts up the spirits of the people, there’s a lot of hard-working good decent people and family people that care about this neighborhood, and sometimes they just need a little helping hand.”
The city of Oceanside had a number of donors who provided supplies and food for the project. According to Margery Pierce, the Neighborhood Services director, about $33,000 was spent on supplies.