“It’s turned into a huge event; it’s really taken off,” said Joy Motts, the event’s fundraising chairwoman. “It’s a really nice thing for the city of Antioch in light of the budget cuts. The city has been decimated with the budget cuts. This is an effort to pull us up by our own bootstraps and take up where they left off.”
Dozens of city employees have been laid off in the past year. One of the hard-hit departments is code enforcement, which is responsible for improving blighted properties. As a result, in a city that has been hard hit by the foreclosure crisis, many properties have become overwhelmed with weeds and trash. The citywide cleanup will deal with those areas as well as ongoing trash and litter problems along major thoroughfares, run-down neighborhoods and the shoreline.
The volunteers will gather at nine elementary and middle schools around 8:30 a.m. and be formed into teams of 10 to 20 people that will follow a team leader to problem areas. The trash pickup will continue until 11 a.m. From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., a free barbecue lunch will be provided for the volunteers in Contra Loma Park.
Contributions from event sponsors include $5,000 from Wal-Mart, the donation of the dumpsters by Allied Waste Services, and lunch provided by Honeywell Corporation.
Community groups are also pitching in. The Kiwanis Club is helping with the barbecue, and the Antioch Historical Society is providing its nonprofit status for tax-free donations.
“It’s taken on a life of its own,” said Motts. “It’s a huge event and a really, really good thing for Antioch. In light of all of the bad things we see these days, it’s good to see our citizens come to the forefront to try to make a difference and do some positive things for Antioch. We are excited.”
More than 600 people who signed up early for the cleanup will be receiving free tickets to Disneyland as part of the theme park’s Give a Day, Get a Day promotion, which ended recently.
The cleanup organizers are hoping that success can be translated citywide. “When people see areas that are clean, it’s a whole different image for Antioch,” said Motts, adding that they plan to make it an annual event.
To participate, you must sign a waiver form, found online at www.art4antioch.org. Click on the Keep Antioch Beautiful link. For more information, e-mail Diane Gibson-Gray, executive director of the Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch, at email@example.com or call her at 925-779-6137.