The Times West Virginian

March 29, 2014

Make Marion County Shine set April 12

Volunteer-led clean-up shows strong growth

By Richard Babich
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The third annual Make Marion County Shine spring clean-up will be held in two weeks.

Volunteers will be provided with trash bags, gloves and a free lunch. According to Jackie Fitch, the only thing volunteers need to bring is excitement with passion and community pride.

Fitch says many towns, including Mannington, Farmington, Barrackville, Fairmont, White Hall and Bellview, already have groups in place, but there is always a need for more volunteers.

Make Marion County Shine began in 2012 when Fitch became unsettled with the amount of trash on public property.

“Two years ago, I looked at all the trash and thought ‘this is disgusting,’” Fitch said.

Fitch says she teamed up with Linda Fravel and Iris Canfield and began organizing a county-wide cleaning day. The organization became known as Make Marion County Shine and has grown in size over the past two years.

“The first year, we picked up three and a half tons of trash,” Fitch said. “Last year, we picked up almost 10 tons.”

Canfield has been in charge of the Monongah clean-up the last two years. This year, she will be working in the White Hall area.

“Fairmont wants to grow and expand,” Canfield said. “It’s difficult to attract new businesses when a town is not clean.”

Make Marion County Shine works with the West Virginia Make It Shine program. The state program is run by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

According to program coordinator Travis Cooper, West Virginia Make It Shine provides gloves, bags, hauling and landfill fees to Make Marion County Shine and other organizations during the first two weeks of April every year.

“This is our home and our children's home and will be our grandchildren’s home,” Canfield said. “I want them to enjoy it!”

The spring clean-up will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 12. Make Marion County Shine will be providing lunch for volunteers.

Individuals interested in participating in the Make Marion County Shine event may call Fitch at 304-657-1749 or Canfield at 304-573-0308 or post on the group’s Facebook page “Make Marion County Shine.”

Email Richard Babich at rbabich@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV.