After a winter hibernation punctuated by bursts of community-minded activity — a shopping-cart collection expedition in January, a Diamond Park campfire in February — the Thankful Thursdays group is ready to leap back into action.
With the calendar saying it is officially spring, the group will hit the streets once again to pick up trash — and to host a kids egg hunt in Diamond Park.
The event takes place Thursday, of course, from 5 to 7 p.m. Those who would like to participate are encouraged to make their way from home or work to Diamond Park, looking for trash along the way, according to Dan Hunter, one of the event's organizers.
“It’s a trash walk to the Diamond,” Hunter said. “Everyone is welcome. If you have time, wear protective gloves and bring a couple of garbage bags. Last year some people brought one and wished they had brought six.”
Hunter expects less garbage this year after the group scoured much of the city in 2017 in its quest to clear litter. Nonetheless, he suspects that the receding snow will reveal some trash to be picked up after the group’s winter break, particularly in alleyways near the Diamond. Bags can be deposited in a truck provided by the city once participants arrive at Diamond Park.
Participants shouldn’t wear themselves out, however — there will be more to pick up once they reach the Diamond. Beginning at 5:45 p.m., kids who wish to join in the egg hunt will gather around the gazebo, with the hunt itself beginning at about 6 p.m.
Volunteers, including a number of folks new to the Thankful Thursdays group, have been busy preparing “hundreds” of plastic eggs with surprises inside for the hunt, according to Hunter.
“You never know what might be in them,” he said.
Mary Melvin, owner of Save Room for Dessert, has been involved with Thankful Thursdays for nearly a year and, like Hunter, is one of several small business owners who have helped to organize the event.
“It’s going to be a blast,” Melvin said. “It’s such a wonderful service group. ... It’s just a fun group of people to be with, and they’re very welcoming to anybody and everybody.”
Building community is as much the group’s goal as cleaning and improving communal spaces, according to members.
The group’s next major project features both activities, according to organizer John Hartnett. Thankful Thursdays plans to work on rehabilitating the Meadville Area Recreation Complex skatepark during the spring, with an event already planned for May 24.
Before then, members are hoping to hear from more young people who use the park, Hartnett said. Skaters should get in touch with the group through the Thankful Thursdays Meadville Facebook page.
“We’d like to get as much of their input as possible,” Hartnett said.
The group has come a long way in the past year, according to Hartnett.
“It’s really kind of amazing,” he said. “I guess I expected it to be a one-off thing.”
Instead, the group’s efforts snowballed into much more than just a volunteer cleanup crew.
“We’ve done everything from throwing parties to helping people navigate health care to costume creation,” Hartnett said. “It’s just a lot to be thankful for, I guess.”
Mike Crowley can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can go
Thankful Thursdays Meadville hosts its “Kickoff Clean-Up and Egg Hunt ’18” from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Diamond Park. The event is free and open to the public. Participants are encouraged to pick up litter on their way to the event. An egg hunt takes place at approximately 6 with participants gathering around the gazebo.