Park cleanup is a great project for church and the community to join forces in order to beautify a public area. Like the roadside cleanup, cleaning up a park is a great project for all ages.
- Pick a park area in your neighborhood to clean up. Scout the park to decide which specific areas you will cleanup, especially if the park is sizable. Determine the projects you will be doing. Some areas may require extensive work, such as felling trees.
- Contact your local Department of Recreation and Parks for resources to get a permit, prepare a liability document, use cleanup equipment, and schedule trash pickup. You can also contract your local Sanitation or Public Works Department for information on organizing the trash.
- Pick a time and date for the project. Saturday mornings (8am-12pm) usually work. Have a rain plan. You may want to start early in the day before it gets too warm.
- Promote the event extensively at your church. This could be a church-wide event, so recruit as many volunteers as you can. If you are opening this event to the public, put flyers around the neighborhood. Depending on the magnitude of the project, advertise through the local radio, newspaper, or television stations. Post yard signs on key corners and at the park a week before the event.
- Organize your volunteers into groups, with a team leader for each group. You may need volunteers to clean up graffiti, pick up trash and litter, paint, cut/mow the grass, fell/limb trees, and set up refreshments.
- Gather supplies. Consider asking local businesses to provide donations or light refreshments. Here are some tools you may need:
- Garbage bags
- Pruner/tree trimmer
- Painting supplies
- Lawn mower
- Trash pickers
- First aid kit
- Send reminders to volunteers a week before the event. Include information on suggested clothing. Wear a long sleeved shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes or boots. This protects from ticks and objects that might cut or scratch the body.
- Arrive early on the day of the event to make final preparations. You may want to set up a table for signing in and answering questions.
- Brief volunteers. Delegate work areas to avoid overlapping. Have a time for prayer before the volunteers disperse. Other instructions could include:
- Certain hazardous materials should not be picked up by hand, e.g. soiled diapers, bottles with urine, and drug needles.
- Have a separate bag for recyclable items.
- As you clean up, chat with other volunteers. Park cleanup brings many different people together, and it is a good time for fellowship.
- Dispose of the trash responsibly. If you are not scheduling a pickup, deliver recyclable and reusable items to a recycling center.
- Remember to thank the volunteers and local businesses for their donations.
- You may want to take before-and-after pictures to document the day, and to use it for future publicity.
- After cleaning up the park, you can have a picnic or cookout there to enjoy the clean park. Just be sure to pick up the trash.