Valley litter sweeps brings out passionate volunteers

Barbara Hootman

Picking up litter is a passion for many small-town residents. Bronte Lamm has been on litter patrol since childhood. She felt so strongly about a litter-free Black Mountain that, more than a decade ago, she began what is now the annual local litter sweep.

Black Mountain’s 2016 Litter Sweep is set for Saturday, April 1. The Swannanoa Sweep will be April 9.

The Black Mountain Beautification Committee and Black Mountain Kiwanis Club are joining forces again to turn out as many volunteers as possible on April 1 to pick up litter. Volunteers will meet from 9 a.m.-noon at the town square parking lot to pick up trash bags, vests, gloves and assignments.

Kiwanis Club members will meet from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the Kiwanis Thrift Store. Children who are accompanied by an adult are welcome to participate. No special experience is needed. Volunteers are welcome for any length of time they can contribute.

“Even as a child I was bothered by litter,” Lamm said. “As I took my daily walks over the years I carried a bag and picked up litter along the way. I am recuperating from shoulder surgery, but I will be able to volunteer time to help with passing out supplies at the town square parking lot. Last year we were fortunate enough to have around 30 volunteers. It was amazing how many bags of litter were collected.

“When I started the campaign to remove litter in Black Mountain, I wanted volunteers to participate monthly. But I quickly saw that it wouldn’t be of interest to enough people. So every spring, volunteers get together to spruce up the town after a winter of little litter pick-up. The Kiwanis Club has high school students that are willing to volunteer also.”

Lamm said Litter Sweep is a good time for volunteers to put in some community service time.

“The effort that volunteers put into picking up litter on April 1 makes a big difference in how our town looks,” she said. “It is also fun to meet and have a common purpose of beautifying our town by removing unsightly litter.”

If you want to help but cannot come on April 1, you may pick up trash bags at no charge at Town Hall on Midland Avenue during business hours any time until May 2. For more, call Laurel at Town Hall, (828) 419-9300, ext. 602.

Swannanoa will hold its annual Swannanoa Sweep from 9 a.m.-noon April 9. The event is sponsored by Friends and Neighbors of Swannanoa (FANS). Volunteers are sweetening the occasion by having a sweet contest.

Teams of volunteers for the annual Swannanoa Sweep will clean up along roadways, neighborhoods and other community nooks and crannies. The work (for some) can be strenuous - volunteers climb into ravines to carry out items like discarded sofas. But when the cleaning, bagging and hauling are finished, local merchants will have sweet prizes waiting for the teams with the most bags and the most unusual item. Among the stranger items collected in past years have been a commode and crisp $100 bills.

Swannanoa volunteers will meet at the Ingles/Valley Ace Hardware parking area on U.S. 70, next to Bank of America. Gloves, vests and bags will be supplied. Wear closed-toe shoes and comfortable working clothes, and bring a full water bottle. Teams will be assembled to clean up the trash.

For more email or call Maureen Dillow at 713-8836.