Faith in Action Memphis Cleanup 2014, which Mayor A C Wharton Jr. hopes will be the city's largest cleanup ever, was unveiled at press conference at City Hall on Monday.
The event, aimed at fighting blight and beautifying Memphis, will take place April 25-27 at sites throughout the city. The collaborative effort involves the mayor's office, Memphis City Beautiful, and a host of business, community and faith-based organizations.
"We became involved in this event because, as a faith-based entity, we believe in doing everything in our power to make Memphis better for all of us," said Pastor Brandon Walker, project director of Shepherding the Next Generation, a group comprised of more than 200 local pastors of different faiths.
"As a driving force of faith in this community, we want all of our neighbors to live in a safe and pristine environment," he said.
Through grassroots promotions and partnerships, the city expects to recruit up to 10,000 volunteers for the massive three-day cleanup.
"We expect to have a wide-reaching and positive impact on our city," said Eldra White, executive director of Memphis City Beautiful, the first and oldest beautification commission in the nation.
The Memphis business community hopes to play a major role in recruiting volunteers for beautification projects.
"All of us are deeply committed to community service and engagement," said Jeremy Park, president of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club. "That's why it's critically important for us to not only be involved with this, but to also spearhead this for other companies across the Mid-South to get involved."
"This is our home," Park continued. "This is where we raise our families, this is where we choose to work. So it's important for us to be part of this city beautification effort."
A prelude to April's large-scale cleanup was held last October, with plans of building toward the larger April event. About 4,000 volunteers participated in that effort.
"This past October was just a trial run, and we got everything worked out," said Wharton. "It's going to be huge. It just goes to show you that people do care about our city, and when called upon, they'll step up and volunteer and do what it takes to make Memphis a home of good abode and blight-free neighborhoods for everybody."
(For additional information about the Faith in Action Memphis Cleanup, or to register for service projects, visit www.faithinactionmemphis.com.)