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Cleanup In City Heights Benefits Somali Neighborhood

Volunteers work to pick up trash, build benches and paint near 50th Street an...

Credit: Matt Hoffman/KPBS News

Above: Volunteers work to pick up trash, build benches and paint near 50th Street and University Avenue in City Heights, Jan. 12, 2018.

The 50th Street Community Build Day was organized by the City Heights Community Development Corporation and Hands On San Diego.

Most of the volunteers were Ben & Jerry's ice cream franchise owners from around the country. They are in San Diego for an annual meeting — with a side of community service.

"Everyone came in on the bus," said Ephraim Mallari, a co-owner of a Ben & Jerry's store in Seaport Village. "There's probably 200 - 300 of us out here."

Ben & Jerry’s paid for the cleanup and supplied the volunteers.

"People are out here on their own," Mallari said. "We could go back to resort and do our little, lay out by the pool and everything else. But we want to come out and out here because this is an opportunity for us to get together and really give back."

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Volunteers picked up trash, built benches, and put down fresh coats of paint.

"It’s like a facelift for this whole area," said Ahmed Malinomar with the City Heights Community Development Corporation. "We’re going to be painting a landmark for the Somali community."

Malinomar said the community is excited about the new space.

“It’s going to be the actual sign for the Somali community," Malinomar said. "Knowing that if you’re in this particular corridor, that you are in a Somali neighborhood."

Video by Katie Schoolov

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