About 130 volunteers organized by Good News Gathering church filled pickups, trailers and dumpsters with trash, debris and other items Saturday as part of a “Hillsboro Not As Usual” project focused on cleaning up the Johnson Street area in Hillsboro.
Ron Hennison, mission director at GNG, said Monday the event was “outstanding.”
Hennison said the Ward 3 area of Hillsboro was chosen for the first such project because that would be GNG’s ward if it was inside the city limits. The church is located just south of town on U.S. 62.
Hennison said the outreach effort started last November with “random acts of kindness,” such as leaving packets of various items on doorsteps in the area. But Saturday “was the first time we really interacted with the residents.”
Hennison said the cleanup actually extended beyond Johnson Street to parts of East Walnut, East Pleasant, East South and Muntz streets.
Hennison said the church has conducted an annual Christian outreach to Haiti, but this year decided to focus its efforts closer to home.
Hennison said the cleanup was performed by 130 volunteers who filled three 30-yard dumpsters beyond capacity. Volunteers provided 15 to 20 pickup trucks and trailers. A large pile of brush and wood was also collected and taken to the GNG property, and “one gentleman took a truck and trailer-load to recycle.”
Hennison said more projects are being planned, but he hoped other organizations or churches will be inspired to start similar efforts of their own.
The cleanup was coordinated with local agencies and officials, said Hennison, including Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Mel McKenzie, who was “very supportive” and helped with permits, the Highland County Senior Citizens Center, which allowed use of a parking lot for a staging area, and the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District, which provided gators and volunteers for the event.
Hennison said organizers also met with Wendy Culbreath, who represents Ward 3 on city council, to discuss their plans for Saturday’s activity.
“It was really cool,” said Hennison, adding that residents expressed their appreciation for the effort to make their neighborhood more attractive.
More information can be found at the church’s website at www.goodnewsgathering.org.