The Community Day of Service earlier this month included the work of some 250 to 300 volunteers, 9,000 pounds of trash being hauled to the transfer station and 25 pairs of mittens knitted and donated to charity. We call that a rousing success.
Those were the numbers given Tuesday night by organizers Glenn Maloney, Rod Bunt and Spencer Moser to the City Council and the viewing audience.
Maloney and Bunt said there was a huge increase in volunteers, some from out of town; Moser that a large number of organizations and groups were able to showcase their community committment, as well as students fulfilling their community service learning projects.
"We've been calling it the cleanup in past years and the volunteers have kind of dropped off," said Bunt, of the Mayor's Office of Tourism. "I don't have specific numbers and this is pretty anecdotal, but we had a whole lot more of the public that wanted to get involved and make it a successfull day."
The cleanup day may have started as a community event but MCLA has pretty much taken it over during the past decade and kept it going. This year, there was a renewed effort to join residents together with the college's efforts and expand it beyond picking up trash. The Develop North Adams group was instrumental in spearheading the collaboration. Volunteers - including city councilors - painted, cut brush, read to children, installed playground equipment, knitted and did other things.
MCLA's Moser said he would "challenge any of my colleagues in the commonwealth who have similar jobs to see if they have a relationship" that puts students to work solving real problems with the community. He's heard of the obstacles they've had to deal with. "I don't have a lot of challenges here. We work together real nicely."
Another community day is being considered for the fall but Moser said the main focus will continue to be on the spring event.
Mayor Richard Alcombright had a more prominent role this year as the "lemonade truck driver." Bunt said that last year, they "snuck him up to the landfill and let him do some work." Snuck him up? Who were they hiding him from. Hmmm ....