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Posted: May 19, 2014 Volunteers in record numbers show for downtown cleanup

Taken from the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram


A record number of volunteers descended on downtown Eau Claire Saturday to spruce up the area as part of the Our City Spring Clean-Up.


Armed with rakes, shovels, buckets and brooms, about 430 volunteers decked

Brian Erickson blows leaves Saturday, May 17, 2014 off the Grand Avenue footbridge in downtown Eau Claire. Erickson was part of a small group from Rainmaster to participate in the Our City Spring Clean-up, an event that drew a record number of volunteers. 

 out in white and green event T-shirts made their way around downtown, completing more than 30 major cleanup projects from 9 a.m. to noon.


"That's an amazing number of volunteers," said Salina Heller, communications and promotions coordinator for Downtown Eau Claire Inc. "It's kind of awesome to see everyone in their shirts."


Last year there was about 390 volunteers, Heller said, and she's always amazed at how the event continues to grow.


"Every year we think, ‘Can we get any more people?' and then we do," Heller said with a smile.


Volunteers picked up trash, swept sidewalks, weeded, planted flowers, washed windows and helped local non-profit groups with various tasks.


"We're going down this street all the way to Madison (Street)," said Michaelle 


James, who was sweeping the Farwell Street sidewalk.


James said this was her first year participating in the cleanup efforts.


"It's the right thing to do," she said. "I like Eau Claire."


Amelia Peasley, who was working to pull weeds and dead plants out of the raised flower beds on the corner of Farwell Street and Main Street, said this is her second year volunteering at the event. She and her husband both work for JAMF Software, one of the major sponsors of the cleanup efforts.


"It's one of the things that our company did that I thought was just great," Peasley said, noting it was a good opportunity to teach her kids, Jackson and Madyson, about helping out and giving back to the community.


Joanne Kulig-Gast with Western Dairyland, a non-profit organization that helps disadvantaged individuals in Buffalo, Eau Claire, Jackson, and Trempealeau counties, said the help the volunteers gave the organization was much appreciated.


"It's a lot of work to do the cleaning," Kulig-Gast said. "It's not a big building, granted, but it's a lot of work."


After completing the cleanup efforts, volunteers were rewarded with a lunch at Phoenix Park. Volunteers said the real reward, though, was making Eau Claire a cleaner, nicer place to be.


"It's an opportunity to make the community we live in every day a better place," Peasley said.

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