Trash off an opportunity to spruce up community

Area residents will have the opportunity to make a difference in the Crossroads community April 14, as Keep Big Spring Beautiful and local volunteers get ready to spruce up the area during the annual Don’t Mess With Texas Trash-off.Trash-off coordinator Pat Simmons said the event is a great way for area residents to make a difference in the weeks leading up to Earth Day, which will kick off across the nation April 22.“Looking after our community isn’t something we should be doing just one day a year,” Simmons said, “and with the Trash-off a little more than a week before Earth Day, this is an excellent way for us to set the example.“Keep Texas Beautiful is an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, which has each state scheduled for a clean up from March 1 through May 31. So, Texas always works on the first Saturday in April unless Easter falls on that weekend.”The event, held in conjunction with Keep Texas Beautiful’s annual state-wide trash-off, has attracted more than 300 volunteers each year, a number Simmons hopes to equal or exceed this time.“People can clean their own lots or streets or we can send them to a particular area,” Simmons said. “Their efforts really make a difference ... It seems like we don’t have as much trash to pick up as the year before.”Janice Bishop, president of KBSB, said volunteering just a small portion of time each month can have an impact on the way the community looks.“If people just get out and spend an hour each month helping to pick up litter and trash, it can make a huge difference in our community,” she said. “I keep a bag in my car and when I’m going to a business I try to pick up as much litter as I can between my vehicle and the front door.“Of course, the best way to fight litter is to not let it get there in the first place. However, not all of it ends up out there intentionally. Unfortunately, though, the only way it’s going to get picked up is if it’s done intentionally, so we all have to contribute and do our part.”Simmons said volunteers will be at the Chamber of Commerce office on W. Third Street from 9 a.m. until noon Friday, April 20, to give out trash bags to interested persons.Those volunteers will then join several other civic and governmental organizations in the main clean-up effort Saturday. In past years, efforts have centered on Big Spring’s main thoroughfares — Third and Fourth streets, Gregg Street and FM 700 — as well as other areas.“We have about 13 Adopt-A-Spots throughout town and groups will be out picking up trash in those areas,” Simmons said. “But people can pick up trash on different streets, lots ... wherever they want to clean.”Simmons asks that volunteers register with her before the event, whether they plan to request an area to clean or pick up litter in their own area or property.“This way we can get a head count of how many people are participating in the Trash-off, which is important for the information we submit to Keep Texas Beautiful,” she said. “Even if you’re just going to work on your own property, please call us and let us know so we can be as accurate as possible.”For more information on the Trash-off, contact Simmons at 432-263-4607.Contact Staff Writer Thomas Jenkins at 263-7331 ext. 232 or by e-mail at