'One Bag, Big Difference' Hemel Hempstead Church Litter-Picking Project

'One Bag, Big Difference' Hemel Hempstead Church Litter-Picking Project

Susan Watt

On Sunday, 17 March, 11 members of the Hemel Hempstead Seventh-day Adventist congregation participated in the national 'Great British Spring-Clean' scheme. The day was cloudy and it drizzled, but with safety outfits donned, they set off.

Our church pastor, Bernie Holford, had set up a street WhatsApp group earlier this year. Quite a few neighbours on this group posted 'Thanks' for his work once one person had mentioned it. Another neighbour was so delighted she asked if she could join in next time a litter pick was organised! "We joined this campaign to allow our members to show we care for our community," said Pastor Bernie. "I was overwhelmed with the positive responses from our church neighbours. Litter-picking is a good way to build relationships with individuals in our community and show we also care about our local environment. This is another way to 'Go SEC'."

Along the way, a resident named Chris introduced himself to one of the other groups. When asked how he felt about seeing the groups out today, he said, "I feel surprised!"  He went on to explain that he had been cleaning that area himself for over twenty years and had never seen anyone else do it.

One of the volunteers, Andrew Wynn, reported, "While I was walking my dog the next day, a neighbour, walking her dog, asked me, 'Was that you I saw picking up litter yesterday?' I said yes and took the opportunity to tell her the church we were from and that members had done the litter pick in the streets near the church. She commented that she thought we were doing a great service to the community by cleaning up the streets."

As we picked up litter, people beeped their cars, waved, and stopped to express their appreciation for what they could see we were doing. The effect of the work done is still very noticeable days later. About twenty bags of litter were collected. The parks, pathways, and bushes look pristine. 

It's true, one bag, big difference!