By Michael Stewart / Executive Editor
Some 40 volunteers picked up about 50 bags of trash in Meridian's downtown core area Saturday for the Meridian Main Street's Fall Clean Sweep.
Among the participants were 17 members of the Debs Social Service Club, an organization comprised of young women in 10th-12th grades from schools all across Lauderdale County.
"It's a good way to help out the community," said Taylor Agent, 16, a Debs member and West Lauderdale High School 11th grader.
Volunteers of all ages picked up stray plastic bags, food wrappers and cigarette butts four to five blocks on either side of 22nd Avenue, from Front Street to 14th Street and 18th Avenue to 26th Avenue.
This is the third year for the cleanup, which takes place twice a year in the spring and fall.
"Our fall cleanup helps get our downtown area spiffed up for the holiday season," Meridian Main Street Executive Director John McClure said. "We have more people coming downtown for the shopping season and our Merry Meridian festivities. It helps put our best foot forward."
The biannual cleanup is a collaborative effort of Meridian Main Street, Meridian/Lauderdale County Keep America Beautiful (KAB), Waste Pro and the city of Meridian.
Northeast Lauderdale High School football standouts Josh Everett and his brother, Phillip Everett, were among those who donated their time Saturday to the effort.
"We just wanted to help out," Phillip Everett said.
A contingent of sailors at NAS Meridian also took to the streets, even though most are not from Meridian and will soon leave once their training is complete.
"It is a good way for us to get out in the community and meet people and get involved," said Samantha Woods, 31, a logistics specialist and instructor at the base.
Keep America Beautiful, in conjunction with STS Electronic Recycling, manned a drop of site at the corner of Fifth Street and 18th Avenue where residents could drop off unwanted computers, printers, fax machines and other electronic equipment.
Among other things, Meridian residents Kim and Kenny Watts dropped off three computers.
"We are thrilled with this," Kim Watts said. "We were just sitting this stuff and this was a great way to get rid of it."