WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Several dozen volunteers hit the streets on Saturday morning to help clean up the town.
The inaugural town pickup event was part of a statewide effort under the banner Keep Massachusetts Beautiful.
The first-year Williamstown version brought an army of volunteers to Field Park at the junction of Routes 2 and 7 to sign in and accept assignments at various locations around town.
"I've seen litter to lesser or greater degrees everywhere,” said organizer Anne O'Connor, who serves on the town's Board of Selectmen. "Sometimes, you have to look for it a little bit. From Field Park to Cole Avenue, it's not going to necessarily be laying out on someone's front lawn, but underneath the brush, it's there.”
Being a first-year event, O'Connor said organizers kept things low key, not seeking any kind of corporate sponsorship. The bags were provided by the town of Williamstown, which had a supply on hand from a community pickup held last year in South Williamstown.
Volunteers were asked to leave the bright yellow trash bags at the side of the road for pickup on Monday by the town's Department of Public Works.
Word of the event, which O'Connor hopes to make an annual activity, spread through word of mouth and emails directed to local non-profits like the Williamstown Community Chest. Girls from four different local Girl Scout troops also participated.
By the end of the day, more than 60 volunteers joined in, and about 30 bags of litter were collected.
Overall, participants ranged in age from preschoolers with their parents to retirees. Several Williams College students also were among the initial crews dispatched from the "command center” at Field Park.
O'Connor said some volunteers had expressed interest in being sent to a particular neighborhood. Others were assigned on an as-needed basis.
"Ideally, you want people to feel like they're stewards of their area or their street,” volunteer Shira Wohlberg said.
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