Volunteers Return to Leominster for Lancaster Street Project
A heat wave sweeping across Massachusetts this past weekend couldn’t stop 70 WeLoveU volunteers from taking on a street cleanup in Leominster. On Sunday, July 21, 2019, the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers worked together to restore an abandoned trail site near McLaughlin Babe Ruth Field. The trail site, commonly known as Lancaster Street, has been vacant for twenty years. This volunteer service activity is in partnership with the Leominster Recreation Department and the Leominster Trail Stewards.
Due to reports of illegal trash dumping, cleaning Lancaster Street became a high priority on the city’s to-do list. Trash dumping poses many threats to the environment. For starters, piles of trash left on a property can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. And if trash flows into rivers as a result of storm water runoff, it can impact the fish and other wildlife. The environment isn’t the only thing affected by trash dumping; it also impacts people. Litter is unsightly, but it can also welcome unwarranted activity in neighborhoods.
Strength in Numbers Brings Great Results
With the goal in mind to restore Lancaster Street, the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers removed litter and dead branches that covered the half-mile road. Halfway through the cleanup, temperatures reached the high nineties. Despite that, exchanges between volunteers like “We can do it!” and “You’re almost there!” resonated throughout Lancaster Street. Together, they moved broken branches to a chipper truck provided by the city. In total, volunteers filled ten bags of trash, including larger items like a broken air conditioner.
According to the Leominster Trail Stewards, volunteers are needed to fulfill Leominster’s match for a grant they received from Massachusetts’s Mass Trail Program. In less than three hours, the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers fulfilled one-third of those required volunteer hours! Judith Sumner from the Leominster Recreation Department said, “They [Leominster Trail Stewards] are amazed at the amount of work you did!”
Mayor Dean Mazzarella Continuous Support of WeLoveU
Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella stopped by to express his support and thankfulness to the volunteers. He’s participated in previous WeLoveU cleanups in Leominster since 2017 in Barrett Park, Fournier Park, a street cleanup. and was a guest speaker at the 2018 New Life Family Walkathon in Washington D.C.
“I’ve dealt with a whole lot of groups, and I say this all the time. This group is the friendliest group, and I’d think everybody knew each other their entire life. We’ve done a number of cleanup projects, beautification projects in the city. This is the only event that didn’t get canceled this weekend. They’re doing a beautiful job taking this old roadway that was abandoned and cleaning it up.”Mayor Dean Mazzarella
The volunteers’ efforts cleaning Lancaster Street is just one of the ways the WeLoveU Foundation carries out its Clean WORLD Movement. The global campaign raises awareness about the importance of environmental protection in the face of climate change. To see more environmental cleanup efforts from the WeLoveU Foundation, visit the Clean WORLD Movement initiative page.