BELLA VISTA — On a freezing, freezing 22-degree Friday morning, Marci Downing prepares to gather her bags and buckets for the next day.
The winter climate does not prevent him from helping his community. She predicts that won’t stop Bella Vista’s neighbors from cleaning up either.
“It will be in the 30s when we start,” she said. “But we’re supposed to hit the 50s!”
Downing, who launched the Pick the Town Green effort with fellow Bella Vistans Tim Pschierer and Rebecca Fraley in March 2019, is now the main organizer. Pschierer is helping with cleanup efforts and leading the Six In Sixty effort, slated for March. Fraley is instrumental in securing commercial sponsorships.
The 2021-22 cleaning season runs from October to April. All supplies are provided, and Lowe’s serves as a sponsor for pickers, buckets, gloves and trash bags, Downing said.
Volunteers of all ages meet from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month. The places, dates and times are published on social networks. Downing said the effort continues to grow, with families and children — as well as other volunteers — showing up.
Picking up trash is a great way to meet other neighbors, visit and work, while enjoying Bella Vista’s beautiful exterior, she said.
The community cleanup, now in its third year, has not wavered. Volunteers enthusiastically show up, no matter the weather, to help, she says.
“It’s amazing what you can do in an hour and a half,” Downing said. “With 15 people, we can fill 25 to 30 garbage bags.”
Downing likes to see the dedicated volunteers who continue to clean up. Groups of 15 to 18 people gathered for gatherings in October, November and December.
“I want all the credit to go to the community,” she said. “It’s everyone who shows up that makes this happen.”
In the past, volunteers have focused on different areas of the city to rotate cleanups. In this way, all areas were covered.
This season, organizers are focusing on several sections of US 71.
“Hopefully if we really clean up 71 it will stay nice through the summer,” Downing said.
With an ever-growing population, waste remains a constant problem. Volunteers who take pride in the community can definitely make an impact, she said.
“Litter is an ongoing problem,” Downing said. “It’s hard to walk past without cleaning up. The city doesn’t have enough resources. We’re all contributing to it. At the end of the day, we’re all responsible and we have to be the solution.”
Anyone interested in participating or joining a corporate sponsorship can contact Downing at 714-865-5059 or message through Pick the Town Green on Facebook.