WOODSTOCK – About 100 volunteers came out Saturday for Woodstock’s first community cleanup day.
One of the many volunteers was Woodstock resident Matt Thuma.
“We just have such a problem with litter in the public areas and the city can’t do it all,” Thuma said. “So getting people to do it just helps out so much.”
Event coordinator Laura Witlox Middaugh, who has lived in Woodstock for the past 20 years, said she helped create Keep Woodstock Beautiful because she wanted to do something to help out her hometown.
“Rather than complain to the city about the areas that needed help, I thought we could create a movement to do something about it,” Witlox Middaugh said.
Volunteers were designated a cleanup location and were provided with garbage bags and gloves. Along with picking up trash, 15 volunteers were tasked with painting the side wall of local plastic manufacturer Matrix 4, at 610 E. Judd St.
“As a main building that’s in the heart of this area, we thought it was important to look at how are we beautifying our space,” Matrix 4 owner Patricia Miller said.
Miller said her building’s side wall has been an “eyesore” for a long time, so she and several other volunteers painted the wall to make it more appealing when people drive through Woodstock and see it.
“I think we’re a tight-knit community, and all the businesses here are supported by the people that live in this community,” Miller said. “So I think it’s important for us to be giving back to an area we live and work in.”
After several hours of hard work, volunteers gathered outside Matrix 4’s parking lot, where they were treated to beverages and a free lunch provided by the Public House of Woodstock and Crystal Lake-based Country Donuts.
Saturday’s community cleanup was hosted by the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, the Woodstock Jaycees, the city of Woodstock and other residents.
“A lot of community civic groups have stepped up to the plate to help with this event,” Witlox Middaugh said.
Even though this year’s event has come to an end, Witlox Middaugh said, she plans to continue organizing community cleanup events for years to come.
“This is not a one-time event,” Witlox Middaugh said. “We see this as more of a five-year plan rather than just an annual event.”