Organizers of the annual Clean Up Foxboro Day event have high hopes that a small army of trash-talking — and gathering — volunteers will be fanning out across town this Saturday morning to help spruce up the landscape.
The effort is much needed, according to organizer A.J. Dooley. Traditionally held in April or May, the annual “spring” cleaning was deferred to September this year in deference to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings. The 2020 cleanup day was skipped altogether for the same reason.
“Anyone who has seen the trash on some of our streets knows this is seriously overdue,” Dooley said this week. “That’s why we scheduled the event for September. I did not want to go two full years until the next cleanup.”
First held in 2012, the town wide cleanup event was the brainchild of retired Foxboro Reporter editor Jack Authelet and typically attracts between 200-400 volunteers on a Saturday morning to help collect litter and roadside trash on streets and other public spaces throughout town.
In keeping with past practice, would-be volunteers are asked to report to the Schneider Electric parking lot at the foot of Bird Street and Railroad Avenue beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday.
To assist in planning, volunteers are urged to sign up in advance by visiting the cleanup day website at www.cleanupfoxboro.org, where 165 already had pre-registered as of Wednesday morning, Dooley said.
However, walk-ons are always welcome and can simply sign up on Saturday morning for route assignments.
Upon arriving, volunteers can snack on coffee and donuts while being provided safety T-shirts, disposable gloves and trash bags waiting to be filled. They will also be provided a number to call if they observe hazardous materials rather than risk handling it themselves.
Cleanup activities are scheduled from 8 to 11 a.m., followed by a complimentary pizza lunch from 11 a.m. to noon.
But Dooley stressed that volunteers needn’t make a four-hour commitment in order to help spruce up the town’s appearance, adding that even with busy and at-times conflicting schedules, people can still help out.
“Everyone’s busy, I get it,” he said. “You should see my Saturday schedule. But it just takes 15 minutes to make a difference.”
That this year’s cleanup coincides with the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, which has been designated a national Day of Service, is particularly appropriate.
“It’s a day of service, a day of remembrance and a day of thanks,” Dooley observed.
In addition, this year’s cleanup event is held in memory of Dave Gaffey, a 1974 Foxboro High School graduate and local barber who died last December.
Dooley, along with volunteer crews from Tree Tech and Ryan Moreshead Excavating, will be driving routes throughout town on Saturday afternoon to pick up bags and haul them back to waiting dumpsters.
As they check in, volunteers also will be eligible to win raffle prizes which include Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots and Boston Celtics tickets, as well as tickets to attend an upcoming show featuring country music star Kenny Chesney.
In addition, every volunteer who registers this Saturday will be eligible for a free, one-time rubbish/recycling receptacle cleaning courtesy of Dooley’s new start-up venture, Cleanest Bins, a mobile service providing at-home cleaning and sanitizing of trash barrels and/or bins.
Assisting Dooley on this year’s planning committee have been Tina Belanger, Jennifer Riggs, Balazs Busznyak and Foxboro High School student Benjamin Ricketts.
This year’s sponsors include: Schneider Electric, Stop & Shop Foxboro, Partners in Patriotism, Seven Roads Media, Foxboro Fish & Game Club, Tree Tech, Foxboro Never Forgets, Next-Gen Supply Group, Judy’s Village Flowers, Foxboro Cleanouts, St. Mary’s Church, TBR Marble, Patriot Place and the Kraft Group. Also: Pee Palace Potties, Dunkin Donuts (Main Street, Foxboro), Oilman Inc., Cool Twist, Remax, Foxboro Real Estate, Foxboro Rotary, Differrentals, Hometown Pumping, O’Donnell Bros. Homes, M.J. Eisenhauer Plumbing Inc., Foxboro Mini Mart, Cindi’s Jewlery, Stadium Golf, DJ Nate Adams and R. Moreshead Excavating.