Planning for the 2021 Clean-Up Foxboro Day event took a much-needed step forward this week with the appointment of a new member to help bolster the event’s organizing committee.
Selectmen on Tuesday welcomed to the committee Jennifer Riggs, who said she participated in grassroots clean-up activities in other communities prior to moving to Foxboro 4-1/2 years ago.
Board members did not set a formal date for this year’s event, but longtime organizer Tina Belanger suggested they consider either May 1 or May 8.
According to Belanger, the town-wide event was established in 2012 and typically has attracted between 200-400 volunteers on a Saturday morning to help pick up litter and roadside trash on streets and other public spaces throughout Foxboro.
The 2020 clean-up day initially was postponed, and ultimately canceled, due to restrictions on public gatherings stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of that, Belanger added, the need for a thorough spring cleaning is more pressing than ever.
“If you drive around town there is a huge need for cleaning up,” Belanger said. “But we have a great community and I’m confident we’ll get the help.”
In years past, organizers have provided volunteers with T-shirts, gloves and plastic trash bags, as well as serving up a barbecue lunch following the event at the foot of Bird Street, just over the railroad tracks.
Given pandemic restrictions, the post clean-up gathering is doubtful this year, but Belanger suggested that organizers can still find a safe means of assigning routes and providing supplies.
“It’s unfortunate because it’s always been a really great community event,” Belanger said. “I think we can still have our sense of community but we have no certainty we can continue to have a gathering.”
Belanger suggested the event would likely need to be re-imagined going forward, including reconfiguring the event’s website to meet emerging logistical challenges.