It's been widely reported that the clean up cost for the annual Valentin's Day pillow fight was cut by 90 percent due to the smaller crowds that attended this year.
But the story that hasn't been widely told is how two East Coast residents played a big role in helping San Francisco save money on the cleanup. Jennifer Small, with the New York group, Pillows for Puppies, tells SF Weekly today that the real reason the cleaning bill was reduced so drastically this year is because Pillows for Puppies drafted volunteers to help remove trash and feathers from the Justin Herman Plaza.
"We left the plaza nearly completely clean," Small said.
Small and her friend traveled to San Francisco before the pillow fight started so that they could do two things: help clean up and help collect used pillows for charity. They drafted about 30 local volunteers who trailed after pillow fighters, and stuffed 150 trash bags full of stray feathers, Small said.
They also collected 200 "lightly used pillows" and gave them to the Sisters of Mercy, which distributed the pillows to low-income residents today.
The annual event typically draws more than 1,000 participants for the pillow-pounding fun. But this year, no more than 600 people came out for the pillow fight on the plaza.
It cost the Department of Public Works $3,510.94 to pick up after Sunday's event. That's a sharp drop from the $16,056.46 the department spent last year for sweeping, trash collection, and rinsing down the plaza.
Pillows for Puppies is in the process of becoming a nonprofit group to help make social events and "silly" traditions like the pillow fight a little more productive.
"When we got there, the DPW was extremely happy to have us there," Small said. "They lent us brooms and rakes."
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