by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOL DISTRICT - Sam Heiser and Drew Eubanks of East Hill Church clean up Gordon Russell Middle School grounds on Community Care Day, Aug. 24.

More than 500 volunteers from faith-based organizations, parent groups and the community helped beautify the grounds of 12 Gresham-Barlow schools to welcome students back to class this week.

“We are so thankful to the individuals who came out this year and every year to get our school grounds ready for students,” said Terry Taylor, Gresham-Barlow School District facilities director.

Volunteers pulled weeds, raked, spread bark dust, pruned and painted Aug. 24 and other weekend days throughout August as a part of Community Care Day, a church and volunteer effort that began in 2004 to help the district in its upkeep of school grounds during the summer.

This year’s participants included East Hill Church, Cornerstone Church, First Baptist Church, Good Shepherd Community Church, Grace Community Church, Gresham Bible Church and Mountainview Christian Church.