ABOVE PHOTO: Sen. Hughes (in gold sweater) is busy directing the team at his free paper shredding event.
By Jim Brown
Last Saturday in the Parkside section of the city, a vital service was provided to West Philadelphia residents and others who heard about the service through State Sen. Vincent J. Hughes’ office and volunteers.
The day of free shredding was offered to the residents in a portion of the Lowe’s parking lot reserved at Parkwest Town Center, 1500 N. 50th Street. The event was scheduled to start at 10a.m., but cars lined up outside and around the corner by 8a.m..
Hughes (D-7th Dist.) shared why this event was needed and why he responded to his constituents in a big way.
“People’s identity, security and things are extremely important to them,” Hughes said. “We needed to make sure that we would provide a vehicle for them to properly dispose of personal papers and have [the] confidence that [it] is being shredded and destroyed appropriately.”
“So this is not a West Philadelphia thing,” Hughes continued. “This is about us helping folks. We’re not turning anyone away. It is more about getting rid of those personal documents that everybody has that are bank statements, papers with social security numbers, driver’s licenses and birth certificate information and all of that kind of stuff. Folks needed a confident way to get rid of it and we provided that today — the turnout is huge and we had to order several shredding trucks to help get rid of everything.”
There were over 400 cars that turned out for the event to shred paper and documents of value, but most of the drivers knew that it was worth the wait. The event was scheduled to last three hours until 1p.m., but continued to about 3p.m.
West Philadelphia resident Leslie Bowen talked about why she came out to the event.
“I received a notice in the mail,” Bowen said. “Thanks Jesus for this, because we had less than four boxes to fill. This is a blessing — it’s something that was necessary. I just retired, so I have a lot of paperwork that I had to shred. I can’t throw it in the trash because everything I own [is] on there. It’s got all of my personal information in there. I’ve got to see it with my eyes, I can’t leave it to chance for somebody else to get [it].”
The event was a big success, due to volunteer organizations like WeEmbraceFatherhood, 100 Black Men, Millcreek Community Partnership and YOACAP (Youth Outreach Adolescent Program) who provided great support to Hughes during the extended 6-hour event.
“I’m here because pollution and clutter is a blight, and there’s a lot of stuff we need to get rid of, and we needed to be organized to work this type of event because it’s about unity, cleanliness and helping one another out,” said Jerry Puryear of the Millcreek Community Partnership in West Philadelphia.