Nearly 100 volunteers turn out for cleanup at Copperas Cove City Park
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful and the Copperas Cove Parks and Recreation Department joined forces with members of the community to pick up litter at City Park Saturday morning.
This year marks the second year that KCCB and Parks and Recreation have partnered to celebrate Parks and Recreation Month. Last year, the two entities joined together to clean up South Park.
This year’s cleanup was different, not just in location, as the COVID-19 pandemic brought forth a need to socially distance while volunteers picked up trash.
Major changes included the elimination of a group picture before the cleanup and the implementation of a come-and-go style cleanup, where volunteers could keep their distance.
A total of 98 volunteers came out to clean up the park and collected 525 pounds of trash, according to KCCB Executive Director Roxanne Flores-Achmad.
“I get excited. I know our board is super excited,” Flores-Achmad said. “Anytime we can make a difference in the community, we’re extremely excited, but just to be able to see volunteers of all ages on a Saturday morning providing service in our community, and a lot of them love these parks, so they’re able to see how they’re able to make a difference because then they’ll be in that park; whether it’s for a game, whether it’s to enjoy the pools or whether it’s just to come out here and have a picnic, they’ll be able to see the difference that they make on a daily basis.”
Parks and Recreation Superintendent Caycee Hauck agreed with the sentiment.
“It means a lot for the community and the kids in our community because at the end of the day, the parks are for the families to enjoy, and if the park is clean, then they don’t have to worry about cleaning up trash while they’re just enjoying family time,” Hauck said.
One of those families is Tiffany Guevara and her three daughters, who use the park often.
“It was really fulfilling. It was nice to get out and be part of the community, clean up and help out,” Guevara said.
She and her daughters were glad to be able to help out their community with Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful.
“I think it’s nice that they’re out here in the community helping clean up,” Guevara said about KCCB. “There’s a lot of trash out here, and we come out here for soccer and swim and we always notice it around and try and do our part but having a big group like this really helps. It goes a lot quicker. Sometimes it feels like we pick some up and just right behind us, people are throwing it right back down so it’s nice when you have a big large group out here helping.”
Another group helping pick up trash were members of CCHS DECA, who picked up a combined total of two trash bags.
Emma MacDonald, the Vice President of the CCHS DECA chapter, said this was her first time at a cleanup.
“It was honestly a really good experience because you never realize how much the community needs people to help it, so even if it’s just like something small that you’re picking up, you’re really making a difference,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald was joined by other DECA officers and DECA Advisor Charlotte Heinze. DECA works with the Chamber of Commerce and assists at other community events, like the Puppy Pawlooza held every October.
Although DECA members are typically helping out at events every weekend, with COVID-19 cancelling events, this cleanup was the first event for the group in a while.
“It feels really good because with quarantine and everything, you’re stuck inside and now that we’re able to go out and make a difference, it’s beneficial for not just myself and like our mental health overall- it makes you feel like you’re a good person and that you’re making a difference- but it’s really good for the community because the community right now more than ever needs it,” MacDonald said. “We want people to know that they can come to us and we’re always willing to give a helping hand.”
DECA advisor Charlotte Heinze said that if other businesses want to enlist the help of the DECA students, they can contact DECA through the email found on the Chamber of Commerce’s website.
Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful members will be back at City Park on Saturday, July 18, for a Picnic Table Paint Party, where members will begin painting the first 20 of 60 total tables a standard, uniform color.
Ace Hardware has donated the paint brushes, paint rollers and paint trays, and Sherwin Williams is donating the paint.
The Paint Party will begin at 8 a.m. near Fester’s Stage. Those interested in participating should reserve a table by contacting Roxanne Flores-Achmad at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 547-4242.