REI is joining the Esplanade Association for two community volunteer days to clean up the park on Tuesday, Nov. 17, and Thursday, Nov. 19, from 9 to 11 a.m. as part of the national outdoor retailer’s new Keep it Local, Keep it Clean campaign, which gets underway this fall.
Max Guerrieri, an REI marketing specialist, said the campaign is part of the company’s overall effort to “recreate responsibly” (#RecreateResponsibly), and it includes one simple pledge – “to spend time outdoors and help keep these spaces clean while you’re out there.”
Said Guerrieri: “The program is really a way to showcase the different ways people can get outside to keep our public open spaces clean. It’s so people can get outdoors during the pandemic and help out the public places that have meant so much to us this year in simple ways.”
Volunteer opportunities may include trash pick-up, bench painting or planting, and participants will be informed of their project before the event while each session will be limited to 10 participants in abiding with federal, state and local guidelines concerning social distancing and other public safety protocol.
Also, volunteers can pick up their free DIY Cleanup Kits, including recycling and trash bags; disposable gloves; hand warmers; and limited-edition REI “swag” (i.e. sunglasses, a bandana and a sticker) at any of the company’s New England stores.
Michael Nichols, executive director of the Esplanade Association, called REI a “terrific corporate partner that continues to sponsor our programming.”
In the spring just after the pandemic hit, REI provided a grant to the Esplanade Association, Nichols said, to help underwrite the group’s volunteer efforts by paying for tools, equipment and supplies for volunteers (including gloves and hand sanitizer), as well as for costly inclement-weather gear for staff that allow them to work year-round in the park.
“I give REI a lot of credit for issuing a grant at a time of great uncertainty for us and likely for them as well,” Nichols said. “That grant enabled us to bring volunteer programming back amidst the pandemic with social distancing and sanitation requirements.”
In all, the grant allowed the Esplanade Association to sponsor 15 volunteer days (with seven to go) this year, including cleanup days scheduled in partnership with the Beacon Hill Garden Club and the Beacon Hill Civic Association (which also provided a grant to help defray its cost).
“It’s really a great opportunity come out and engage in the park, and to help keep it clean,” Nichols said.
Meanwhile, Guerrieri, who, weather permitting, often commutes via Bluebike from his Wilmington home to REI’s Boston office through the Esplanade, said: “This program was built off of the notion that our outdoor spaces have done so much for us, so let’s do something for them by helping to keep them clean. And, let’s face it, we could all use a feel-good, give back moment right about now.”
To volunteer for REI’S Keep it Local, Keep it Clean Days scheduled for Nov. 17 and 19 on the Esplanade, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/keep-it-local-keep-it-clean-volunteer-days-on-the-esplanade-tickets-126130753479.