GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Instead of sleeping or spending their Saturday morning watching cartoons, nearly three dozen Gulfport residents chose to gather at Emerald Pine Apartments for a clean-up event.
“When it all boils down to trying to help, you have to actually put forth the effort,” Tyvaro Bass said. “You have to stand up and actually do something.”
The group featured neighbors, Gulfport Police officers, councilmembers and other local leaders, all with gloves, grabbers and garbage bags.
The event was organized by Extend a Hand Help a Friend and it aimed at preventing the ‘Broken Window Theory’ in areas across Gulfport.
“(The theory states) a community that is dilapidated, a community that is littered with trash and debris, is a community with high crime,” CEO Jeffrey Hulum III said. “It’s a community with lax education and a community that lacks partnership.”
The group also wanted to improve the lives of both residents and visitors.
“If they see the paper, litter, trash and tires then they have a misperception about what Gulfport has to offer,” Ward 1 Councilman Kenneth “Truck” Casey said.
Volunteers also came from different communities across Gulfport to help.
“We have people from all different communities across the city of Gulfport that are coming together,” Hulum said.
People from different age groups also pitched in, including Lawanna Smith.
“We want a nice community,” said Smith. “Not a trashy and dirty one because when you have a dirty community people don’t want to be around that.”
While the event was all about getting the community cleaned up, it was also about registering people to vote.
“Maybe my vote will be that vote that changes the world for the better,” Bass said.
Organizers also inspired participants to send a message through their actions and ballots.
“I never felt like it really truly mattered,” said Bass. “Until you start seeing changes in the world and then you realize, okay, it’s time for me to make a movement.”
By picking up trash and doing their civic duty, volunteers showed the neighborhood what the city is all about.
“They’re willing to get down and do the hands-on part of the community, the dirty work of the community. The stuff that doesn’t look pretty,” Hulum said.
For more information about the next clean-up event, keep an eye out on the “Extend a Hand Help a Friend” Facebook page.