Neighbors, volunteers take part in riverside cleanup in Chicopee

Hampden County

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A riverside off Exchange Street in Chicopee was filled with trash, before volunteers cleaned it up Saturday.

They said most of the trash came from a homeless camp.

“In one weekend, there were like 15 people moved down here carrying mattresses by my house,” volunteer Rich Jones told 22News. “I was kind of freaking out but what am I going to do? Am I going to get mad? It doesn’t do any good. Or am I going to be proactive and try to help them and myself at the same time.”

The Ware-based group “Make MA Fishing Spots Great Again” led Saturday’s effort in Chicopee. Local residents told them about the trash here on Facebook, after seeing them clean up a different homeless camp in the city.

“Within hours we had people, saying we want to show you more, we want to show you more,” said Brett Richards, president of the non-profit organization.

Richards noted, “Not only that, they said we want to come and help. Here we are, we’re back in Chicopee. We got it done in less than an hour almost. It’s unbelievable.”

Saturday was the second time this year volunteers as well as Chicopee residents, cleaned up a homeless encampment in the city.

They found an assortment of trash off Exchange Street including tires and more than 100 needles. Volunteers also removed an old grill, chairs, and mattresses.

Make MA Fishing Spots Great Again works to clean up river banks and other popular fishing areas. They told 22News they have their eyes set on a lot of big projects in the new year.

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