CHICAGO (CBS) — Thousands volunteers fanned out across the city today for the Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon.

The aim: to make an impact on schools and parks in every corner of the city.

CBS 2’s Chelsea Irving reports some 5,000 volunteers gave up their sunny summer Saturday to spruce up the city.

Volunteers were out mulching and weeding at one park in the Back of the Yards.

“It’s kinda cool its immediate gratification,” said Toyia Hemingway. “You get to see what you’ve done. And you know that the kids out here every day are gonna enjoy it.”

Brighton Park Elementary School was among over 30 locations where Chicago Cares volunteers pitched in.

“I’m making Chicago a more beautiful place to live,” said volunteer Candace Mueller.

“I think it’s amazing we have a huge heart not only is this the city of big shoulders but we’re a city with a huge heart,” said Jenne Myers.

The school is getting new shelves, a new mural, and almost entirely repainted.

Assistant Principal Osvaldo De Santiago says volunteers painting the school saves money for other areas.

“This year we need new math curriculum new level readers in all grades so that’s an easy decision now,” he said.

Chicago Cares says painting alone costs about $75,000 per school. In 25 schools today that’s saving cps about $1.8 million, but the benefits are measured in more than dollars and cents.

“This is kicking some energy into the building I know when the kids come in the fall they’ll feel that new feeling to energize and start the school year off on the right foot,” De Santiago said.

This was the 22nd annual Serve-a-thon for Chicago Cares. This year they focused on not only getting corporate groups to come out but also individual volunteers and with great success as this was their biggest year yet.