When he moved to Laurinburg from West Virginia six months ago, the Rev. Michael Edds was taken with the city’s natural beauty and charm.
But something else caught his eye — litter.
Edds said that he and the congregation of Laurinburg Pentecostal Holiness Church, where he is senior pastor, decided to do something about the problem.
“Laurinburg is a beautiful place,” said Edds. “I just love these big old historic antebellum homes, but I notice litter just about everywhere.”
Edds said that litter along Old Lumberton Road, where the church is located, was beginning to befoul the church itself.
“That’s a portal coming into our gateway on Old Lumberton Road to our church,” said Edds. “If someone’s coming to your front door you don’t want them to be met with garbage.”
On Saturday, Edds and a group of 16 church members devoted the day to picking up every last piece of litter strewn along a mile-long stretch of Old Lumberton Road.
“The garbage on Old Lumberton Road had gotten to be an eyesore going towards our church,” said church member Major Broughton. “Apparently the people that go through that community don’t care anything about the community, trashing it up. We wanted to get out and show people that we care for the city of Laurinburg.”
The group, comprised of youth and adult church members, collected 830 gallons of trash on Saturday.
“They were picking-up machines,” Edds said. “They picked up probably enough beer bottles that I could retire from just selling the glass - beer bottles, drug paraphernalia, you name it.”
Edds plans to organize another cleaning committee within the next few months, and hopes that other churches in the community might follow their example.
“If every church would make a project of just cleaning up the area near their church, Laurinburg would be pristine,” said Edds.
“We figured if we started, maybe some of the other churches or people would do the same thing,” sad church member Mildred Greene. “We’re just hoping that other people will take notice and either pick it up or stop throwing garbage onto the side of the road.”
The church plans to place hidden deer cameras around the area in order to catch polluters, drug dealers, and reckless drivers.
“There are too many good people who live right here for us to surrender to the people who want to ruin it,” Edds said. “Laurinburg’s too pretty to let it be buried under trash.”