Beautify Carolina Forest president Richard Skrip doesn’t have to dig too deep to know how to spend $2,500.
Although Beautify Carolina Forest has officially existed independently only for one year, the volunteer group it represents has gotten the PalmettoPride community grant for the third consecutive year.
PalmettoPride is a legislative initiative created to fight litter and help beautify South Carolina.
The grant will help pay for the last phase of a project in the works since 2014 when Skrip and his wife Lucinda started voluntarily cleaning up the Carolina Forest area grounds.
“Our project hasn’t changed, it’s on target,” Skrip said.
Since its inception, three sable palms, 80 crepe myrtles, 56 dwarf sable palmettos, 36 knock-out roses and 26 day lilies have been planted on the Carolina Forest Boulevard and River Oaks Drive medians.
And in 2016 alone, the volunteers have picked up trash in Carolina Forest on 61 days.
Beautiful Carolina Forest has a scheduled trash pick-up the second Saturday of each month but Skrip said if something needs to be done in between scheduled days, it gets done by the volunteers.
For example, there was a vehicle accident near Kroger recently that resulted in shrubs being driven over, branches being knocked down and car debris being left in the road. Volunteers cleaned up from the accident.
“There was a whole garbage bag of car parts,” Lucinda Skrip said.
“It looked like someone dumped out a dozen used diapers and we see that all the time,” Skrip, who lives in Plantation Lakes, said about the trash that was picked up.
“We see that all the time, they throw their diapers out the window right after they throw the syringes. A lot of what we see is disgusting. But who’s going to pick it up? Somebody has to step up to the plate and that’s what we do.”
The $2,500 grant money will be used for the purchase of more trees, shrubs and flowers.
The volunteer group also cuts the grass in the medians twice a month, using their own lawn mowers and gas.
More than 50 people have volunteered with Beautify Carolina Forest, and some help out more often than others.
Brighton Lakes resident Carol Franceski has been a volunteer with the group since shortly after moving to the area almost three years ago.
“I just showed up,” she said, adding that she and her husband Jim have been showing up ever since.
“Some people give money, I give time, my lawn mower and my gas,” she said.
For more information, visit www.beutifycarolinaforest.org or the Facebook page, Beautify Carolina Forest.
Mail donations to Beautify Carolina Forest PO Box 50411 Myrtle Beach SC 29579.