Lehigh Community Cleanup
Local resident Maria Elena Corradino, along with several Lehigh Acres groups, organized a roadside cleanup over the weekend and invited the community to participate.
Nearly two dozen volunteers spent two hours of their morning on July 29 walking around local neighborhoods and picking up trash. The volunteers met up at Gunnery Road Baptist Church, at 880 Gunnery Road N., to check in and then drove through different areas of Lehigh collecting trash. The cleanup focused on the Gunnery and Sunset Road area, with nearby roadways included, such as Dewitt Avenue, Yale Avenue, Christopher Avenue, Xelda Avenue, Sunniland Boulevard and more.
"I've noticed a lot of litter in the streets and I just don't want to just accept that there's litter everywhere," Corradino said. "Litter can be dangerous for kids if there's broken glass on the ground. I believe we can educate people, especially little kids, to take care of their community and not litter."
She called the cleanup a success thanks to the help and participation of groups like the Lehigh Acres Community Initiative, Lehigh Acres Community Watch Coordinators and Pay it Forward Lehigh Acres Community, along with the Department of Transportation and all of the local citizens who came out.
"I feel it's part of the community's job to keep the neighborhoods clean," Ann Kelly, one of the volunteers at the cleanup, said. "So any little bit that we can do, our part is worth it."
Donuts were provided to the volunteers when they checked in, as well as water. However, it was encouraged that the volunteers to bring their own water to reduce the use of plastic bottles. Bags, safety vests and pickup sticks were provided by Andrea Adams, chair of the Lehigh Acres Community Initiative. Kristin Schultz, a member of the Lehigh Acres Community Watch Coordinators, contacted the Department of Transportation, which picked up the collected trash after the cleanup.
"This gives everyone the opportunity to unite as a community and certain neighborhoods," Adams said. "It helps neighbors see that there are people in their own neighborhood that want to make a difference and to change the aesthetics of the neighborhood for the better."
Some items volunteers collected were beer bottles, plastic bottles, paper, newspapers, cups and other household items. After two hours, the volunteers collected a total of 25 bags of trash and debris.
Steve McGiffin, another member of the Lehigh Acres Community Watch Coordinators, offered to set up a tent and to provide water and gloves. He also moved the trash for easier pick up by the DOT. Corradino said she plans to organize more cleanups and wants to get the schools involved.
"This is a good event because it encourages people to take care of their community," she said. "It's an opportunity to meet your neighbors and it brings hope that things could change for the better of the community."