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Clearwater asks residents to paint their hearts out
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CLEARWATER – For almost a quarter of a century, Clearwater has been asking residents to Paint Your Heart Out and this year is no exception.

More than 400 volunteers with a love of community and the need to give back will pick up paint and brushes as they take part in the 25th annual Paint Your Heart Out outreach program to help low-income and disadvantaged homeowners make their homes bright and beautiful.

Samantha Almaraz, board president for Paint Your Heart Out, said the program is so popular each year because it brings the community together for a common good.

“We are a nonprofit and we operate purely by community sponsorships and donations,” Almaraz said. “We really get out what we put in.”

This year, approximately 12 homes are expected to get a new coat of exterior paint in the March 25 project, which will kick off at 8 a.m. and is expected to finish up around 2 p.m.

“We really get a lot done in a little bit of time,” Almaraz said.

Kelly Newton, with Bouchard Insurance, which is headquartered in Clearwater, said her company has organized a team of volunteers for the past nine years and this year will be no different.

“We have a company culture committed to supporting the community around us,” Newton said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to have a direct impact on someone in our community.”

The city is still seeking sponsors and donations for the project, which provide the lifeblood for the nonprofit.

“Without this program, many elderly, disabled and low- to moderate-income homeowners would not be able to maintain the exterior of their property,” said Terry Malcolm-Smith, a housing coordinator in the Clearwater Economic Development and Housing Department. “This program truly is a partnership between the city and private businesses and sponsors.”

Whether you chose to donate supplies, money or your time, Almaraz said the effort will be well worth it.

“This is so very rewarding,” Almaraz said. “You really leave at the end of the day with a sense of accomplishment.”

Following the six-hour workday, a volunteer celebration will be held at Coachman Park in downtown Clearwater.

To help paint, become a sponsor or learn more, contact Malcolm-Smith at 727-562-4036 or terry.malcolm-smith@myclearwater.com or José Patińo, the city’s public information specialist, at 727-562-4664 or jose.patino@myclearwater.com.
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