United Way assists in San Joaquin River cleanup

FRESNO, Calif.

Nearly 300 people from several Valley businesses volunteered for the event at multiple sites all over Fresno County. The donated labor helped many non-profits, like the San Joaquin River Stewardship Program, save several hundred dollars.

Two dozen volunteers hit the water at Lost Lake Saturday morning. They went out in canoes and kayaks armed with tools to clean up the riverbanks along the San Joaquin.

John Supino works for surveillance equipment manufacturer Pelco. After dealing with more than 150 layoffs in recent years, Supino and his employer understand what it means to have a tight budget. "The point is to get out here and give back a little bit and that's why we're here."

Mexican-based airline Volaris also sent some employees to help out.

While volunteers continued collecting trash near the water, others cleaned up the park.

Linda Dipple with the United Way of Fresno County says events like this have a big impact on her organization's network of non-profits."To come up with a couple hundred extra dollars to get somebody to come and do this kind of work is tough. So, this saves them, it saves them a lot."

This trash collection is exactly what the San Joaquin River Stewardship Program is all about. This non-profit works to maintain the river's natural habitat for local wildlife.

"It's protecting them, it's also preparing our river for the return of salmon," said Steve Starcher with the San Joaquin River Stewardship Program, "They're doing a very important service, especially in these times of tight budgets, for county and city governments."

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