MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Principal James Owens never expected to see folks spruce up his school.
"I could not hardly contain the joy that I had," says Owens.
As the leader of the pack at Fews Secondary Alternative School on Early Street, Owens says having a ship-shape site speaks volumes.
"The efforts that we have here will go a long way to helping Fews have a good perception of those that are coming inside those doors," says Owens.
That's why he's grateful to see nearly 70 volunteers from Maxwell Air Force Base giving their weekend to give back. It's all part of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce's Second Annual School Clean-Up Project. The project allows organizations and groups from across the river region the chance to adopt a school to clean before the beginning of the school year.
It's a task setting the stage for a great school year at Fews.
"This sets us ahead about three or four days in terms of preparation of school opening...just this four hours today."
But four hours is a drop in the bucket for these men and women, who say helping out comes naturally.
"It's just something that we do...it's part of our job, ya know what I mean? Protect and serve, and then go out at the same time and give back to the community," says one volunteer.
Not only that. It's free help--something principals claim they desperately need as proration increases and funds run dry.
"We want the building to look great when the students and teachers come back, and this is a way the community has been able to help us," says Flowers Elementary Principal, Ethel Barnes.
Despite a bleak financial future, Owens says these efforts are priceless.
"We can't attach a dollar amount to what I've seen done here."
Project organizers say by the end of the three week program, all 59 schools in the system will get some sort of facelift.
The clean-up continues each weekend until school starts on August 10th.