Finch donates time, effort to keep Jefferson clean

Published 8:52 pm Monday, May 24, 2010

Jay Finch is a 1978 graduate of John Essex High School and a 1982 graduate in accounting from Tuskegee University. He is a minister in a local church, but one of the things he seems to be most noted for is picking up trash in the Jefferson community.

“I’m just doing something in the community because I feel like community service is something we all owe,” he said. “I’m just trying to do the little bit that I can.”

Finch has been picking up roadside trash for more than a year-and-a-half, ever since he lost his job at Foster Farms.

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“I spent the first part of the week looking for work, sending in resumes wherever I can,” he said. “Then, I said, ‘Boy, my community looks awful!’ I looked around and saw how deplorable things looked, so I said, ‘I certainly can do something about that.’

“When I first started, I was using my own bags, walking down the street and picking up a few things, then walk down the next street, pick up a few things.”

Finch doesn’t have a vehicle, so he has friends help him drive the full garbage bags to a dumping area.

He said that he believes in the holistic community, and said that if everyone pitched in, the community would look a lot better.

“Pretty soon, I ran out of bags, and I didn’t have any income, so I needed help,” he said. “I asked churches to donate some bags for me. Ms. Hattie (Morgan of the Jefferson Store) provided me with bags and gloves. I was at the end of my rope to be able to afford bags, but when people started to donate bags, I thought, ‘This is going to work out!’ I was happy to see that!

“I really do believe that the message is becoming clear, that it’s not OK to just dump stuff out,” he said. “We can’t continue to do this to our community.

Finch said that he wants to encourage people to recycle more and to encourage city and county officials to provide more recycling bins so that people can recycle more.

“They are not encouraging recycling in our area at all,” he said. “I’m wondering, ‘Why is that?’ People in the big cities have the receptacles, and the garbage companies come and pick that up. I’m going to try and do what I can to try and change that perception. We just can’t continue to mess up our community like this.”

Although he doesn’t want to make a career of picking up the roadside trash in Jefferson, Jay Finch believes that he is a part of helping to keep his community attractive. Couple that with his advocacy to increase recycling opportunities, and you can see how this accounting graduate can be an asset.