Still some work to do

SAN BENITO — No matter what goes on in the world, there is hope.

That’s the message Keep San Benito Beautiful plans to bring to the community.

“Hope for a beautiful community,” said KSBB president Lynne Pare.

During yesterday’s San Benito Chamber of Commerce weekly “Coffee With” session, Pare updated the chamber on the progress of KSBB since its birth, one year ago.

In an effort to improve and maintain the aesthetics of the city, KSBB was created.

Since then, the group and its volunteers have participated in several events and conducted monthly meetings.

“One of the important things we try to track that is necessary to track for grants and sponsorships is our return of investment,” Pare said. “It’s catching people’s attention.”

The group’s ROI for this past year was $8.44.

“This means that the total amount of money that was put in and the total money that was expended returned an investment of $8.44 for every dollar that was spent,” Pare said. “The average is $2.75 nationwide; it’s even lower in the Valley.”

Pare who started the group from the ground up with the mission to educate and engage San Benito community members, residents and visitors to take responsibility for improving the community’s environment.

“We do this through programming and education,” she said.

The group is focused on three main areas — litter prevention, beautification and waste reduction.

As an affiliate of Keep Texas Beautiful, the organization is still in the process of becoming a nonprofit.

If it was an official nonprofit, it could apply for several grants that total in the millions, Pare said.

The group also relies on the proactive effort of the citizens of San Benito to help beautify the community.

Group officials strongly recommend residents do their part by keeping yards mowed and trimming around sidewalks, driveways and curbs.

Sweeping curbs at least once a month, storing items in a shed if one is available, removing clutter and debris from yards and removing junked vehicles from properties can also help.

Business owners also are encouraged to keep business lawns mowed, to trim stray grass from sidewalks and curbs, to trim trees and plants as needed, to sweep sidewalks and curbs at least once a month, to wash windows as needed and keep window displays attractive.

“The core of helping to make this program work is our volunteers and partnering with others. Everyone is welcome,” Pare said.

What Pare has done is create awareness.

“Awareness about something people would rather not be reminded of. We have work to do,” said chamber board president Lionel Betancourt.

When driving into the community Betancourt said there is a lot of blight that leads to more blight.

“Somewhere along the road the mindset and attitude has to be changed to make people care,” he said. “To install a level of care and ownership within the community is a big hurdle. We have to jump it.”

To volunteer

Keep San Benito Beautiful is always looking for volunteers. If you would like to volunteer or learn more about this organization, call Lynne Pare at 956-241-0915.