COLUMBIA – More than 1,500 volunteers took to the streets Saturday morning to clean up Columbia’s trash.
Volunteers for Cleanup Columbia picked up 1,820 bags of trash and logged a combined 2,765 hours of service, according to a news release from Leigh Britt, manager of the Office of Neighborhood Services. Britt said the numbers are based on reports from the 62 volunteer groups.
Cleanup Columbia is an annual, citywide event for residents to get up, get out, and help make their city beautiful.
Groups and individuals from all over Columbia started filling trash bags around 8 a.m. and finished around noon, so that the Columbia Public Works Department had time to pick up and transport the trash.
Four groups from Oakland Junior High School spread out across Oakland Park’s 81 acres to clear up the trails and Bear Creek, which runs through it. Volunteers got their hands and clothes muddied pulling an entire laundry dryer from the creek.
Bill Bishop, the organizer for the group, said that apart from the dryer, he was confident the group filled up all ten trash bags the city provided.
“I wanted to clean up and make the park better,” Manuel Varrera, 15, said.
The four groups of students from Oakland were the Builder’s Club, Industrial Tech., U Matter and the FCA. It was the school’s third year participating, but its first year working on Oakland Park.
“The Oakland Park is used a lot,” Julia Ross, 26, said. “The trail area is such a nice area otherwise. It’s important to keep it clean.”
Ross said the trail itself was surprisingly clean, but the wind had blown trash into the tree line.
Bishop said they had at least seven junior high students show up to help. He said students visit the park throughout the school year to pick up trash.
“You can really appreciate it when it’s cleaner,” Ross said.
The Emerging Professionals in Columbia worked along Providence Road between Broadway and Burnham Road. Volunteer Christy Bray said the group had 17 members show up to help.
Cassie Via, another member of the group, said they found mainly cigarette butts.
Kari Laudano, a fellow volunteer, said that when she sees trash around the city she thinks it's disrespectful.
Bray agreed. “It makes it seem like people don’t care about where they’re living,” she said.
Bray, Laudano and Via said this year was their first time participating in Cleanup Columbia.
“It’s important to keep the city you’re living in clean,” Via said. “It’s also a good way to meet people.”
Some MU groups had areas around campus that they volunteered to clean.
“I’m a local from Columbia,” Kati Seitz, a member of the Tri Beta group, said. “It seems that college students can trash things up and forget about it. It’s nice to see people caring."
Students from the Christian Campus House at MU started cleanup on South College Avenue and moved toward southeast campus.
Some other MU groups that participated were Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, Mizzou Medical School's Alpha Omega Alpha honor society, Phi Mu, and Alpha Phi Omega.
Groups from Columbia college included Kappa Delta Pi and the Columbia College Psychology Club.
An entire list of volunteer groups can be found at the City of Columbia’s web page underneath Cleanup Columbia’s registration list.