On April 23, 2016, volunteers from all over the Akron area joined together to participate in a large scale cleanup at Summit Lake.
Keep Akron Beautiful
was joined by 166 volunteers that helped collect 5.07 tons of litter, as well as 14 tires, four propane tanks and one scooter, in just four hours. Families, groups of friends, neighbors and community groups like The University of Akron’s William’s Honors College students, Circles and Kent State University’s Super Service Saturday Students, Rare Divas Social Club, Starbucks, G. Stephens and Bridget Drill Team joined the cleanup effort on Saturday. When Julie Junker, a student at The University of Akron, was asked why she was participating in the cleanup, she said, “It’s our mess. We created it and it is our responsibility to clean it up.”
Attitudes like Junker's were common at the lake that day. Many people felt they had a responsibility to take ownership for our community. While it may have been some volunteers first time cleaning up at the lake, other repeat volunteers, like 10-year-old Jaden and Ryan said they would keep coming to the cleanups until the lake is safe and clean.
The cleanup is one of the largest projects that takes place during Keep Akron Beautiful’s Clean Up Akron Month
. With the help of Ohio Erie Canalway Coalition, Keep Akron Beautiful, and a Kenmore United logistics and planning committee, a plan was created to effectively distribute volunteers around the entirety of the lake, identifying zones that were highly littered and in need of a higher volume of volunteers.
Keep Akron Beautiful was able to be on site with its two community improvement trailers to man the volunteers with the tools they would need to get the job done: gloves, rakes, litter grabbers and GLAD trash bags, as well as recycling bags. Thanks to grant funding from the Ohio EPA, volunteers also received neon green tee-shirts helping to ensure the safety of volunteers as they embarked to collect litter from the lake. Safety was one of the top concerns during the planning process of the cleanup. The Akron Police Department was on site to assist with the disposal of portable meth labs, needles and other hazardous materials found during the cleanup. City Sanitation supported the cleanup efforts Saturday morning as well, and with the help of their packer truck, the 5.07 tons of litter collected by volunteers was able to be quickly disposed of.
Volunteers were provided breakfast and lunch thanks to the generous support of the following local sponsors: Jubilee Donuts, Pierre’s Pizza, Regina’s Pizza, ACME, and the Kenmore Kiwanis’s Club.
Keep Akron Beautiful, a local affiliate of the national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful, strives to empower individuals in our community through volunteer participation by collecting litter, illegal dumping, creating a more livable community during Clean Up Akron Month, now in its 35th year.