Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

When need arises, Gulfport Neighbors on the case

Directors, from left, Beverly Newcomb, Margarete Tober and Rose-Marie Seawall are growing a base of community volunteers to help improve the city’s quality of life.

DIANE CRAIG | Special to the Times

Directors, from left, Beverly Newcomb, Margarete Tober and Rose-Marie Seawall are growing a base of community volunteers to help improve the city’s quality of life.

GULFPORT — It began as a way to get neighbors involved in their community. It has turned into something much more.

Gulfport Neighbors, under the leadership of board members Rose-Marie Seawall, Beverly Newcomb and Margarete Tober, is tapping the hearts and hands of dozens of area residents to give back to the community by offering help where needed.

Since October, scores of volunteers have helped with six beach cleanups, one trash collection (another is scheduled Saturday) and two home repair projects.

The organization works with the city administration and its departments to identify needs within the community. One early need was to provide residents with a cost-effective way of disposing of unwanted items.

An agreement with Gulfport's Public Works Department allows the group to conduct a quarterly Junk in the Trunk event where residents can bring their unwanted items to the 49th Street Neighborhood Center instead of paying fees to have the city pick it up. The event saves the city from making multiple trips, and provides an opportunity for disposing any number of items at no cost to the resident.

"Times are tough; not everyone has the money to pay the city $17 to pick up an old tire," Tober said. "This is a win-win for everyone, plus it enhances the city's curb appeal."

Working with the city's Leisure Services department, the group has been drawing dozens of volunteers to beach cleanups and was recently contacted by Gulfport's police chief about the possibility of allowing youthful offenders to fulfill their community service requirement by participating in the cleanups.

Newcomb said seven juveniles helped with the most recent beach cleanup.

"It was a positive experience for all of us," she said, adding that Gulfport is often seen as a safe and encouraging community.

"We had a chance to provide a lot of positive encouragement to those kids."

The group is encouraged by the community's show of support. With donations from the Downtown Merchants Association and Beach Bazaar and individuals, Gulfport Neighbors has been able to assist two homeowners with needed repairs.

"Our last project pulled together 25 volunteers under incredibly short notice. It was really heartwarming to see so many Gulfport neighbors willing to lend a hand," Newcomb said, adding that at least one city official would like to see the group tackle one home project every three months.

City Manager Jim O'Reilly said he is delighted with what Gulfport Neighbors has been able to achieve.

"They're organized, easy to work with, and they're generating a lot of interest within the community," he said.

Building a strong network of volunteers is at the heart of Gulfport Neighbors, and the three board members would like to see a team in each of the city's four wards that would identify needs and coordinate a community response. Until then, their next project is creating and providing a Welcome to Gulfport kit for each new resident.

"Of course, we'll be looking for volunteers to help us with distribution," Tober said.

Diane Craig can be reached at dmcraig@hotmail.com.

FAST FACTS

Gulfport Neighbors' Junk in the Trunk or on a Truck

8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

49th Street Neighborhood Center, 1617 49th St. S

For information or to volunteer with Gulfport Neighbors, call Beverly Newcomb at (727) 344-6105, or Rose-Marie Seawall at (727) 385-7083.

When need arises, Gulfport Neighbors on the case 01/14/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 1:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote

    Blogs

    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to

    Business

    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter

    Blogs

    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.