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Chester woman's cleanup initiative getting noticed

  • Viviene Zobel, of Chester, shows off a bag of trash she recently collected during a walk with her children.

    Viviene Zobel, of Chester, shows off a bag of trash she recently collected during a walk with her children.
    Provided photo

By Pete Spitler
updated: 8/3/2017 3:16 PM

A Chester woman's initiative to clean up her town is getting noticed on social media.

Viviene Zobel recently started the "You Look Like Trash, Can I Pick You Up?" Facebook group, which has gained more than 220 members as of Thursday afternoon.

Zobel told the Herald Tribune the idea was born from the walks she takes with her children around town, picking up trash along the way.

"When we would go off into town, we would pick up trash anyway and when we moved to State Street, it seemed like we were picking trash up every day from our yard," she said.

During a walk on July 31, Zobel picked up three grocery bags' worth of trash and the first group pickup event is scheduled to start Aug. 26 at 9 a.m. at the Chester Gazebo.

"I thought other people should care about the town our kids are growing up in," Zobel said. "Maybe if I started a group, other people would be interested in it.

"It's kind of like the bystander effect, if you don't see other people doing it, you're not going to do it."

Zobel stated the Chester Beautification/Tourism Commission has donated gloves and trash bags for the first event, while Chester Mayor Tom Page will be providing safety vests on behalf of the city.

The Chester Police Department will also be contributing an officer to the event.

"They're going to make sure there's an officer around the area in case there are needles that have to be disposed of properly," Zobel said.

Zobel was asked why she chose Aug. 26, as thousands of people are expected to descend upon the area the week before for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.

"I think it's going to be too crazy before," she said. "I just don't think it's safe for the kids to be out there when there's a bunch of strangers in our town."

A list of safety rules for the event is on the group's Facebook page. For more information, contact Zobel at 618-615-6200.

"I want to get at least 15 to 20 people out so we have different groups throughout town," Zobel said. "I would like to have one (pickup event) every few months, depending on how this one goes.

"We will have a cooler of water during the event so everybody can stay hydrated."