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Valley Community Outreach organizes litter clean up in Lanett

Approximately two dozen volunteers took part in a litter cleanup in Lanett on Saturday morning.

“This is the biggest turnout we have had for one of our projects to date,” said organizer Clint Gilder. “This is great, and it shows that the real community heroes are people you don’t often see.”

The volunteers met at the L.B. Sykes Community Center at 9 a.m. Some of them picked up litter at the Jackson Heights public housing sites, some along Cherry Drive and another group took care of Kroger block.

Gilder heads an organization known as Valley Community Outreach or The Village. It’s made up of adults who grew up in the Valley and now want to give back to the community in the way of good works such as litter pickups, school supply drives, voter registration drives, winter coat drives, a Thanksgiving food drive, and a Christmas toy drive. Some members are back in the Greater Valley and West Point area after having lived in places like Atlanta, Birmingham, Montgomery, Fort Benning and even Washington, D.C. and Florida.

Gilder said it’s the goal of The Village to give back to the place that was special to them as they were growing up and to support similar efforts that are already underway. 

“It’s just our way of saying ‘thank you’ to what our Valley has already done,” he said.”We have assisted over 200 families. Our focus is on the elderly and the disabled, those who have suffered due to COVID-19 and those who have been quarantined, our courageous first responders and our brave medical staffs.

The Saturday litter detail was part of a continuing effort to make things better in local neighborhoods. Previous cleanups have taken place in Valley, and similar volunteer work is planned for West Point and LaFayette.

They’ve also sent more than 22o care packages to U.S. troops.

“We are trying to get the word out about our book bag giveaway,” Gilder said. “It will be taking place on Saturday, Aug. 1. We will have one group of around 15 people giving them out here at L.B. Sykes and another group of 15 people giving them away at Rehobeth Baptist Church. It’s our way of helping families get ready for the new school year. We are hoping for a safe and productive year for everyone.”

Mayor Kyle McCoy, council members Angelia Thomas and Tony Malone, Police Chief Johnny Wood and several of his officers were there to say thanks on behalf of the city for what The Village is doing in the way of community service.

On behalf of The Village, Gilder presented the mayor a framed certificate thanking the city for its support. 

“This certificate is a token of our appreciation,” it reads,, “(for the city’s) immeasurable support and direct assistance in our community clean-up initiative. This experience has been absolutely remarkable. We thank you so much!”