by Lauren Owens
Residents took to the streets of Florence on Saturday morning to clean litter during the 2019 Great American Clean Up.
In its 19th year, the event, which was sponsored by Keep Florence Beautiful, sent more than 250 people across Florence. People from multiple organization and companies took part in the event.
Volunteers started their morning cleaning at their various work sites and ended their cleanup at Naturally Outdoors for lunch.
The event is a part of an almost three-month long cleanup project that will end May 31.
Michelle Bailey, the chairwoman of Keep Florence Beautiful, said the Great American Clean Up is the largest of multiple projects the group sponsors each year.
“I think it’s the one time of year, you know, the three months we can really show the community that we have a concentrated effort in making sure we are keeping our streets clean so I think that’s why it’s important to be a part of the Great American Clean Up,” Bailey said.
Bailey said over the years Florence’s litter index has decreased, meaning there is less litter on the roads from when Keep Florence Beautiful began hosting the Great American Clean Up. Each year, Bailey and a few volunteers go out and survey one area from each of the four quadrants of Florence to record how much litter is on the street.
“We are seeing a trend year after year of our litter index numbers going down, and that is going down,” Bailey said. “That means that less people are littering and that more people are recycling, which is so great.”
The organization actually won an award in 2018 for an improvement in the Florence litter index.
Among the volunteers, Newspring Church members took part in the 2019 Great American Clean Up. The day coincided with their annual “For SC” day, a day when the church focuses on service in the community.
“Our church does the For SC day and so we go around to different organizations in Florence and we try to spread the word of God and just help out wherever we can our project was the Florence Clean up,” said Kristin Rollins, a Newspring Church member.
Julianna Battenfield, who also served with Newspring, said serving in the community is something her faith compels her to do.
“I wish we could do this every week,” Battenfield said. “This is just great because it helps you take your mind and your eyes off your own problems and helps you focus on giving. It makes you focus on your own problems less.”
For those who are interested in getting involved in the 2019 Great American Clean Up, call Bailey at 843-206-3205 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep Florence Beautiful will provide a vest, gloves and bags for volunteers. Projects must be completed by May 31.
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