By Citizen Chronicle Contributors

An annual event to clean up areas of Southbridge brought out increased numbers of volunteers and community-wide support.

Beautify Southbridge was held Saturday, April 21, throughout town. Volunteers met at Southbridge Town Hall beginning at 8:30 a.m. Volunteers could choose an area for clean up or could ask for an assigned site. Individuals, organizations, and families showed up to improve their town and reduce litter, the weekend of Earth Day.

“This year we did something a little different. We did a Facebook event, which I think really got our name out there, and the event,” commented April Plouffe, principal payroll clerk in the Southbridge Treasurer’s and Collector’s Office.“We had about 60 people pre-register, and normal pre-registration is about 12, so that really amped it up,” continued Plouffe regarding sign-ups before the day of the event.

The overall number of people taking part in Beautify Southbridge also increased, with a maximum of about 80 participants in past years to approximately 108 participants in the 2018 event.

Organizers provided each group that showed up with gloves, heavy duty bags, yellow shirts and other supplies as well as refreshments. Each group filled out a basic form to allow organizers to track participation. When a group finished in their area, they could leave full bags on-site. When returning to the Town Hall, each group reported where the bags were located for a general collection. Volunteers were instructed that if they came across potentially dangerous material, such as needles or other biohazards that they should leave the items and report the location.

Beautify Southbridge 2018 was sponsored by the Southbridge Health Department, The Last Green Valley, The Center of Hope, Kids’ Zone Dental, Dunkin’ Donuts, Big Bunny and Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center.

Organizers were still tallying the total number of bags collected, but an initial estimate indicated that over 200 bags were collected. Total numbers will be available by Monday, and The Citizen Chronicle will provide updates as they become available.

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