The Middletown Ministerium’s Community Day of Service has been around for five years now, but this year it looked different.
The Ministerium — which consists of committee members that each represent a different church in Middletown — has hosted the event each September, where volunteers clean up the homes of those who need help.
But this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, going into people’s homes wasn’t as safe an option.
Renee Huffer, committee member, explained that the group decided to switch to an outdoor clean-up day for this year’s Day of Service.
“So this year, we came up with this idea, and we have over a hundred people signed up,” Huffer said.
The volunteers came to Holy Family Catholic Church to get their supplies in a drive-through of sorts. Committee members handed out garbage bags, recycling bags, gloves, hand sanitizer and pre-packaged snacks to the volunteers.
Usually, the group congregates at one church and has a short service before embarking on their projects. But this year, getting people to their locations as quickly as possible was the best option, Huffer explained.
The town was split into 22 sections on a map, and volunteers signed up for what section they wanted to clean up.
Sara Wise decided to help clean up Main Street, because she wants to keep the new streetscape beautiful. She also cares deeply about the environment.
When asked why it was important to volunteer, Wise simply pointed to her shirt, which read, “I just want to save the animals.”
Town Commissioner Jennifer Falcinelli also chose to help clean up on Main Street. This was her first time participating in the event, and she was excited to get out and help the community.
Both Falcinelli and Wise said that the main thing they had been picking up throughout the morning were cigarette butts. They were impressed that Middletown did not seem to have much litter otherwise.
The Community Day of Service is funded by an effort by the Knights of Columbus to collect and recycle scrap metal. Since the start of this year, the group has raised over $15,000 for local charities as well as the Ministerium Fund.
The truck is parked at the Holy Family Church at 7321 Burkittsville Road every Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., said organizer Bill Traube.
“And we’re more concerned because of the needs that are developing because of COVID,” Traube said. “So we’re filling the gap the best that we can.”