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Churches challenged to collect litter

Keep Suffolk Beautiful and the city’s litter control division have turned to a new ally in the ongoing fight against litter: churches.

The church cleanup challenge has been issued to all of the city’s churches. It started in September and runs through Nov. 19.

“We’ve never done it before, and we wanted to do something in the fall,” said Wayne Jones, the city’s litter control coordinator.

He said all churches in the city should have received an invitation to participate.

So far, five churches have taken up the challenge, including Oakland Christian UCC, Pentecostal Followers of Christ and Suffolk Church of God. Bethlehem Christian Church and St. Paul’s Baptist Church also are working together on the challenge.

Jones hopes to encourage more churches to sign up.

“It takes a little while for it to filter through to the right people,” he said. “I’m promoting it as much as I can, and I’m hoping we can do it again next year.”

The only requirement for the challenge is for a church to schedule and complete a litter collection on a local street, park or public space and then to send a friendly challenge to a different church to do one as well.

“We hope it will be fun and rewarding,” said Kathy Russell, spokeswoman for Keep Suffolk Beautiful. “Churches are leaders in the community, so we thought they would make a strong partner for environmental stewardship in the fight against litter.”

Groups will be provided with grabbers, gloves, bags and safety vests to use while completing their cleanup. Bags and large debris will be collected from the site by Public Works following the challenge.

While the current challenge is to churches, any individual, group or organization is welcome to conduct a community cleanup.

Call 514-7604 or email littercontrol@suffolkva.us for more information.