Project MCA Cleanup to pick up Christmas trees in Mount Carmel Saturday
By Justin Strawser
MOUNT CARMEL - The newly formed community group Project MCA Cleanup will collect discarded Christmas trees after borough leaders decided to forgo collection this year.
"I found out the borough isn't doing it, and decided to swoop in," said founder Jason Bower, 35.
He said trees can already be seen around town, and on Saturday his group will do the collection.
Mayor J. Kevin Jones said Monday the borough decided to give up the service because residents threw their trees out over a long time period.
"They were throwing them out in April. We decided it was time to bring it to an end," he said. "It's too time consuming for the employees."
Meeting at 1 p.m.
Bower said he will be asking his Project MCA Cleanup Facebook group, which consists of 93 members, for volunteers to meet at 1 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of Boyer's Food Market, West Third Street. He expects between 15 and 20 volunteers, including high school students using the project as part of their senior projects.
Once gathered, Bower will determine how many trailers and pickup trucks are available, and assign groups to sweep the streets for trees.
A local volunteer who prefers to remain anonymous donated his chipper, and the trees will be pulverized at the borough garage, Bower said.
At this time, he has not set a time period, but he expects to be collecting for at least four hours.
The first event of the Project MCA Cleanup was in November when 10 individuals met at Boyer's and moved along Third Street toward Anthracite Steam Company and Town Park to clean up leaves.
Bower said he eventually wants to move the group to a nonprofit organization status with officers and a bank account for donations.
Until then, he said, "I'm doing what I can to help clean the town up, and get the word out to hopefully get people to do it on their own and get community pride back."
He said future events won't necessarily be confined to the borough, but could expand to Mount Carmel Township, Coal Township and Shamokin. New cleanup efforts took place in Coal Township and Shamokin during 2012 as well.
Jones, noting Bower and his volunteers will have a lot of work, is receptive of their involvement.
"It's nice; it's a great idea," he said. "We always encourage people to volunteer. We appreciate them."
In the Elysburg area, the Ralpho Township Business Association, with volunteer help, does a Christmas tree collection on a specified Saturday each January. The group encourages people to attach donations to their trees, and proceeds support an annual scholarship awarded to a local high school student.