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Volunteer Cleanup-making a difference one street at a time

Category   SOMA Community

Story and Photos by Max Guerrera

Volunteers are making a difference in the neighborhood one street at a time, and a dedicated group of neighbors has been working diligently every Saturday to make SOMA West more clean for all.

In collaboration with TogetherSF, the Civic Joy Fund, RefuseRefuseSF, Shine On, and SF Public Works, each Saturday volunteers meet at Driftwood (1225 Folsom St.) to gather supplies and form crews to restore the streets. After an hour well spent cleaning and getting to know their neighbors, volunteers are welcomed back to Driftwood to relax over a free drink. 

“The volunteers are all over the map when it comes to their post clean up drink choices.” Said Chris Milstead, owner and manager of Driftwood. “We have a cocktail menu with all sorts of unique options so a lot of them like to venture out and try something new.  Personally, I'd go for something refreshing after an hour of cleaning up such as our BB Express: Tequila, Ancho Chile Reyes, house made Black Berry/Thyme syrup, pineapple juice & lime. Beer is always a good thirst quencher and we've got a great local selection.”

Milstead opened his business as a space for volunteers because the event's goals align with his mission. “The organizers of Refuse Refuse approached me and I immediately loved the idea. Not only is my business in the neighborhood, but I also live in SOMA so this is a win-win for me.” Volunteering not only keeps the streets clean, but creates a bond between residents. 

“I love SOMA, I’ve lived here for a long time. It’s important for citizens to be engaged and keep their neighborhood to the quality they want it to be,” said community member and volunteer, Leah Edwards. “I see the guys [ambassadors] out here most days and I really respect everything they’re doing.”