Parents, teenagers and kids dressed in neon yellow safety vests fluffed open trash bags, took litter grabbers and set out to alleys, streets and walkways to collect 359 pounds of trash in Childs Park on Saturday, June 26.
“This is just a beautiful opportunity for our community to come together and to stand together in unity. We put differences aside and we’re able to focus on the mission at hand, which is to keep Childs Park a safe and equitable place for all,” said Eddison Nelson, youth minister of Ebenezer Church, where Keep Pinellas Beautiful set up.
Keep Pinellas Beautiful Education Program Coordinator Devon Francke said about 30 people showed up to help. Interns and staff assisted with cleaning and handed out supplies, shirts, reusable water bottles and stickers to the volunteers.
The water bottles helped keep cleaners hydrated, but also brought attention to the problem of single-use plastic. According to Francke, 80% of marine debris starts inland before it washes into water.
“Picking up that litter you see in your neighborhood, on your streets, in your parks, where you go to school, where you go to work, is actually just as important if not more important than picking it up when you see it on the beach,” Francke said.
The next clean up will be on Saturday, July 17. For more information, visit mychildspark.webs.com.