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Pay It Forward: Belleville woman organizes neighborhood watch to make community safer

BELLEVILLE, Ill. – When a violent crime happened in a Belleville neighborhood one woman led the charge to make her community safer.

The Ogles neighborhood in the west end of Belleville has one of the largest Neighborhood Watch programs in Illinois. Cindy Bingham started the program after the neighborhood was rocked by a shooting five years ago.

Approximately 30 families joined the program at the time. At present, the Ogles Watch Neighborhood Association represents about 1,500 families.

Bingham’s neighbor and friend, Stacy Hudson, surprised her with our Pay It Forward award when she showed up at the St. Paul Senior Center in Belleville, where Bingham serves as director of nursing.

Bingham had to step aside as chairman this past October while undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer.

“I just knew that I would not be able to devote the time to full-time to work, plus the association, plus to my health,” she said.

Bingham is still active in the program, which has grown into a community organization that sponsors 5k runs, food drives, blood drives, school donations, and more.

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