Monday, March 5, 2012
Highland Village church hauls more than 20,000 pounds of trash from neighborhood
The clean up would not have been possible without Waste Management.
In less than two days, a group of middle school and high school students and youth leaders cleaned up more than 20,000 pounds in Old Town Lewisville.
A group of more than 500 volunteers from The Village Church in Highland Village spent February 25 cleaning up a 10-block area of Old Town Lewisville. They collected enough trash and debris to fill six 40-yard dumpsters, which each holds 5,000 pounds. They collected 62 tires and tons of brush and other debris.
The Village Church teamed up with Coppell-based Breakdown Ministries and Waste Management for the cleanup of Old Town Lewisville. Waste Management provided the waste and recycling collection services for the project.
"The Old Town Lewisville clean up was one of the largest projects that our organization has facilitated," said Jon Pendergrass, founder and president of Breakdown Ministries. "We cleaned up a 10-block area that included residential neighborhoods, businesses, a creek, and a park. In addition to the waste and recycling collection, Breakdown Ministries worked with other partners to dispose of other refuse such as rubber tires, scrap metal, and old computer hardware."
A team of 60 students was sent to the creek and park area where they collected so much trash that the difference was immediately visible.
"You could easily see the difference in the creek after the students were finished," Pendergrass said. "They filled tons of bags of trash, and now there's no trash in the creek and it looks clean."
Pendergrass said representatives from The Village Church approached Breakdown Ministries to help it reach out to the community. He said projects like this always begin by connecting with city management to see where the greatest need is.
"The city had a list of residents who needed assistance. We found that there were a lot of elderly people in Old Town who needed the help," Pendergrass said. "The church said they wanted to go out and help the community, so we helped make it happen."
Breakdown Ministries was founded in January 2010. The organization assists churches in connecting with the communities the churches are located in. Pendergrass said there are plenty of needs in the church's communities, and the organization simply provide the tools to conduct local missions."
"We handle all the logistics so the church can focus on the actual mission," Pendergrass said. "This all began while I was working and serving with my own church, and I saw the need to help churches mobilize. The biggest things they lack are tools and planning, so I thought 'what if there was organization that could do that?' and Breakdown Ministries was born."
This was the first cleanup, on such a high scale, that Breakdown Ministries has helped with, but it won't be the last. Pendergrass said part of what The Village Church wanted was to incorporate this into a regular outreach program.
"They don't want this to be a one time event," Pendergrass said. "The residents were really moved to see the youth investing in them. Residents were even pulling out lawn chairs and watching the cleanup. I think they enjoyed seeing an army of people serving the community. A lot of the kids were invited into homes. This was an outreach to love their neighbors as well as cleanup the neighborhood, and it was a total success."
Pendergrass said the cleanup would not have been possible without Waste Management. He said the company counseled and helped with the cleanup.
"I think people take our Waste Management teams for granted, but this weekend opened our eyes. I thought 'what does it look like year-round?' This was just one day and 10 city blocks."
Randy Lee, director of public sector solutions with Waste Management, said the partnership is part of the company's goals.
"Waste Management was proud to work with Breakdown Ministries, The Village Church, and the many community volunteers that will be participating in the cleanup. Extracting more value from the material we handle is one of Waste Management's sustainability transformation goals," Lee said. "Partnering with organizations that provide a role for everyone in the community to make the planet a better place for future generations is an effort we applaud."
At the end of the cleanup, Pendergrass said he was affected by seeing the young volunteers give so much of their time to others.
"It meant a great deal to me to provide the opportunity for this church. It seems so simple, but it's something we often overlook, to love our neighbor," Pendergrass said. "It's my prayer and hope that this instills them to do this on their own street."
For information, visit www.bdrevolution.com.
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