ALLENTOWN, Pa. - When there's a big clean up job to do, many people shell out some serious cash to get it done. But there is a way to get your general labor jobs done more economically while also helping members of the community.

The Allentown Rescue Mission's Clean Team does more than just pick up litter. It's also helping residents tackle some pretty big jobs.

"What we do is we work for commercial and residential folks as general laborers," said Michael Mauro, Clean Team manager.

The team helped a real estate investor get a new property ready to rent Thursday.

James Mattern has been using the Clean Team for about a year.

"It’s flexible, it’s economical, it’s fully insured and they’re very well managed," Mattern said.

At a time when charitable giving is down, the Clean Team has 29 members and is 100% funded because of jobs like the one they did Thursday.

"When we go out in the community and we bid jobs, folks that are hiring us to do the work is paying for all the overhead," Mauro said.

But what the Clean Team does for the community is only part of the equation. Equally important is what the work does for its members, like Francisco Ortiz, who became homeless when his wife died.

After going through the Rescue Mission's life skills program and joining the clean team, Ortiz is now a staff foreman who helps team members get back on their feet. 

"Sometimes you gotta go through some tough times to find your purpose in life and I think I found my purpose," Ortiz said.

A purpose in which he hopes others will join him.

Any one wanting more information on the Clean Team can call the Allentown Rescue Mission at 610-740-5500 ext. 332.

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