San Benito Lifestyle

Volunteers Beautify Downtown Hollister

More than 100 show up to annual Spring Clean-up

Community members came out in droves Saturday morning to show pride in the City of Hollister during the Downtown Association’s annual Downtown Spring Clean-up. More than 100 people—armed with brooms, pruners and rakes—signed in at the corner of Fourth and San Benito streets and then dispersed in groups to clean up various blocks throughout downtown.

Brenda Weatherly, executive director of the Hollister Downtown Association, said the event, which always falls on the third Saturday of April, offers people the chance to tidy up the city by scraping gum off sidewalks, pulling weeds and picking up trash.

“It’s setting a good example through community involvement,” said Weatherly, who by 9 a.m. had signed in nearly 110 volunteers. “It’s held the same day every year, near Earth Day, for consistency and we cover the downtown area from Third to Hawkins, if we get enough people.”

Various community groups including the scouting organizations and church congregations are involved in the Downtown Spring Clean-up. Tammy Duran, den leader for Cub Scouts Pack 455, said they try to help out every year.

“It’s a great opportunity to teach the kids about service,” Duran said, adding she anticipated about 15 Pack 455 kids this year. “We came out last fall and it was raining. Some of the businesses brought us hot chocolate.”

Hollister resident Barbara Penney, who attended along with Girl Scouts Troop 20020, said the Scouts enjoy coming out each year.

“It helps build community relations and awareness,” she said. “We’re just out here cleaning up and trying to help.”

Weatherly said the event has brought out as many as 200 people in previous years and there are “regulars” that she’s come to count on to help.

“We always get a good turnout from the Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and the Church of Latter Day Saints,” she said. “They’re a big component for us.”

Several members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints participated in the clean-up, including Sister Jones, who trimmed weeds and raked along Fourth Street. Jones, from Virginia, was in Hollister on missions throughout San Benito County and the Bay Area.

“I love doing service for people and communities all over,” said Jones, 19.

Along with the Downtown Spring Clean-up, the HDA's Flower Sale was also held at Fourth and San Benito streets. As volunteers checked in to assist in the clean-up, vendor shade tents and colorful plants were being set-up just feet away.

Weatherly said the Flower Sale, in its fourth year, is a fundraiser to pay for plant material in the hanging flower baskets along downtown each year. She added that she hopes the baskets will be up next week sometime.

Gordon Machado, one of the founders of the Hollister Downtown Association, is on the design committee for the overall look of downtown, and said the idea came from a trip to Victoria, British Columbia.

With volunteers cleaning up downtown and other community members planning other ways to beautify Hollister, Machado said the designated California Main Street City has come a long way.

“People sometimes ask me, ‘What is your biggest success in life?’,” he said. “It’s all this. I never thought (the Association and the City of Hollister) would be what it is today.”


Andrea "Andi" Joseph is a freelance editor, writer and photographer with a journalism degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She was the Lifestyles Editor for the Hollister Free Lance, Gilroy Dispatch and Morgan Hill Times for nearly 11 years, and has also worked for the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian and the Arroyo Grande Times-Press-Recorder. Andi enjoys hiking, traveling and exploring with her dog, Bailey.