PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new nonprofit is helping those in need while also the community around them. Eyewitness News watched as men proudly wore their radiant yellow shirts as they cleaned up rubbish outside.
“That’s all the guys talk about, then they walk around with these bright T-shirts on,” said Tanya Chapman, program manager for Station House, run by SELF Inc.
“If we can help the community in any way, you know I’m with it,” said Will Giddings.
Especially since in the past year, they have helped remove over 50,000 pounds of trash from the city streets.
It’s thanks to Adam Kesselman, a local college professor who had a simple idea: pay people who are homeless a fair wage to clean city streets. He calls it City Bright Philadelphia.
“We work with shelters in the communities where the residents are located and living to help them earn money and provide back to the community, by cleaning up where the shelter is located,” Kesselman said.
Kesselman pays each person $20 for two and a half hours of work. Some of the pay is funded out of his own pocket, the rest by donations.
“I tried the simple idea. We piloted it last July, and the pilot worked. On a day where I expected two to five people to come out and clean, there were 25 people on our first day,” Kesselman said.
Thirty-six events later, City Bright Philadelphia has been able to pay 1,100 people for their work.
“It gives them a sense of responsibility,” Tanya Chapman said. “It’s helping them, to motivate them, to inspire them.”
Because of this, Philadelphia City Council has honored Kesselman for his work.
City Bright Philadelphia is also able to provide their volunteers with a job reference and letter of recommendation to enter the workforce.
“We all want to be around a good environment,” Kesselman said, “and why not have people who have a need, who can help, be paid to clean the streets. It’s simple.”
“This is where we live. We’re trying to make the city better for all of us,” said David Hulton, a City Bright Philadelphia participant.
If you are interested in donating to City Bright Philadelphia’s efforts, check out their GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/city-bright-philadelphia.