GREENVILLE — Danish Festival is known to bring in thousands of visitors to the city and a group of volunteers has made it their mission to welcome those visitors to a clean Greenville.
For the third consecutive year, Steve Schofield, a Greenville resident, organized Church groups, area organizations and resident volunteers to help “spruce up” the city as the festivities near.
Divvied up between groups, different areas throughout the city get a little face lift as volunteers make their way along certain routes picking up trash and debris.
“We just kind of pick up with our gloves on and our trash bags,” said Lori Moore, one of about 15 volunteers from the First Church of God in Greenville. “For the most part we do it because we want to welcome people to a clean downtown for Danish Festival.”
Schofield thought of organizing the event after a wind storm in 2011 that left trash throughout his neighborhood.
“I tried to ignore the trash, by the time I got by the Armory on Hillcrest, my conscience wouldn’t let me leave the trash. I went back and picked it up,” he said. “While driving to work, I do my devotionals, I felt the ‘nudge’ to organize a project to clean up Greenville before Danish Festival. It was truly God-inspired.”
Knowing the more people that helped the better the city would look, he turned to area groups and volunteers for some extra hands.
And they came through.
“The volunteers make this event possible,” he said, noting they are able to clean up a large portion of downtown. “The project focuses on areas suggested by the city to help spruce up key areas before Danish Festival. The areas are the bike trail, behind businesses west of Main Street, parade route sidewalks, a few parks and the Danish Festival run course, which includes Baldwin Lake. There are several local churches, businesses, individuals and groups who volunteer to cover the areas.”
The group picks up anything and everything that they can find, including cigarette butts, paper, general trash, diapers and even a dead animal or two, Schofield said.
And it all makes for a clean downtown for the weekend’s guests.
“It was neat, too, when I go to Danish and see everything clean,” said Moore, who added she believes other guests notice the work, as well. “It bothers me when I see trash.”
Volunteerism has increased in the first three years and Schofield said he plans to continue with the event going forward.
Lord willing, we’ll continue to ‘spruce’ up Greenville before each Danish Festival in the future,” he said. “This year was special as it’s the 50th anniversary.”