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Posted: March 23, 2013 5:04 p.m.

Volunteers brave rain to pick up litter

Darrell Everidge/

Volunteers endured the rain and gloomy weather in an effort to clean up the county Saturday morning, as Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful hosted the Great American Cleanup campaign, the nation’s largest annual community improvement program.

Approximately 50–75 volunteers made their way to LongHorn Steakhouse at 9 a.m. to pick up cleaning supplies and then headed out into the rainy weather to clean up roadside litter in the county.

Volunteers were fed breakfast, courtesy of local restaurant Mamie’s Kitchen, before traveling out to tidy up their assigned areas.

Laurie Riley, KCNB director, said due to the weather, many volunteers who signed up did not attend the event. However, those who did participate in the annual event helped make a difference in the community.

"We did have a lot of people who came out to pick up breakfast and pick up their supplies," Riley said. "A lot of people are planning to schedule for another day to clean up when the weather is better, but just about all the groups came to pick up their supplies.

More than 700 people were registered to participate in the event. Riley said volunteers who did not attend the Great American Cleanup on Saturday will most likely reschedule to clean up on another Saturday within the next couple of weeks.

The Great American Cleanup organizes millions of volunteers in locally-directed activities that encourage individuals to care for the environment in their communities.

According to information from Keep America Beautiful — the national nonprofit that puts on the event — each year, more than 1,200 affiliates and participating organizations engage volunteers to take action in their communities through programs that deliver positive and lasting impact through events focused on waste reduction, recycling, beautification and community greening.

In 2012, 4.2 million Great American Cleanup volunteers worked tirelessly to return nearly $230 million in measurable benefits in 20,000 communities across the country.

According to research done through KAB, litter cleanup efforts cost the U.S. nearly $11.5 billion each year.

In addition, KAB’s research indicates that litter affects communities’ quality of life.

KCNB encourages individuals, families, civic clubs, businesses, churches, neighborhoods, schools and other groups to organize volunteers for projects at their individual sites and along local roadways.

Suggested activities include litter pickup, painting and repairing houses and other buildings, planting flowers and trees, starting recycling programs, and holding litter-free events.

However, Riley said Saturday’s event focused on cleaning up the roadways in Newton County.

"Thank you to all of our volunteers, especially those who came out in the pouring rain; they were very dedicated to do that and we really appreciate it," Riley said.

For more information about KCNB, visit kcnb.biz.

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