Last weekend’s Middle Main clean-up was a fantastic success. I don’t think anyone could have imagined so many people (150!) coming out to pick up trash on a Saturday morning, still a bit chilly as Poughkeepsie continues to defrost. It was truly a marvelous showing of community stepping up to do their part in maintaining the place where they live, work, study, eat, and play. Since the majority of volunteers were Marist students, the scene on the streets caught the eyes of other passersby because that demographic is not usually seen walking though Middle Main, at least not in large groups with everyone proudly sporting their Fraternity or Sorority’s letters.
As someone behind the sign-in table, I was blown away and thrilled that so many people came out to clean-up Middle Main at this transition of seasons, when it really needs it. I was thinking that if 100 signed up then about 70 would actually show up due to the chance of rain and the temperature still hovering above freezing in the early hours of the day. I know under the same conditions as a college student, I would have to really drag myself out of bed and jolt myself into a working state of mind. No exaggeration when I say I did not see one sullen face neither waiting in the massive line to sign-up and get supplies nor picking up dirty to-go food containers, plastic bags and cigarette butts along the streets. Everyone, including the non-student volunteers, seemed genuinely content and almost enthusiastic to be contributing to the upkeep of this city.
Volunteers took off in groups of 4-5 with a map indicating their target area to clean, gloves, and two garbage bags (one for general garbage, the other for single stream recyclables). The Middle Main neighborhood has only so many streets so many volunteers were sent a bit beyond, as far North as Mansion Square Park and as far east as Corlies St. Each group walked to their assigned spot with smiles- I assume they were all happy to be off campus in a different environment, but still in the company of their friends and peers.
After all were signed in and dispatched my task was to capture the volunteers out and about doing their thing with joy and pride. The iPhone camera did not disappoint and everyone was happy to pose for a nice group photo. See the photos here.
The most impressive part of the clean-up was easily in the final moments when Craig Arco, who deserves much thanks for his integral role in this event’s success, loaded all the bags of collected trash and recycling into the bed of his pick-up truck and hauled it away to the transfer station. He came back with a final estimated weight of the bags: a whopping 750 lbs! Way to go everyone! That’s a lot less trash littering our streets and a wonderful beginning to a beautiful spring in Poughkeepsie, in Middle Main.