How To: Plan A Neighborhood Cleanup

Hunting Park community members give back in many ways such as participating in cleanups.

This City of Brotherly Love is known for cheesesteaks, murals, arts and of course Rocky Balboa.

Philadelphia is applauded for its vibrant culture, yet the city is ridiculed for its sometimes trashy appearance in places. Many communities in the city have streets, sidewalks and vacant lots filled with trash. This is an ongoing issue and many organizations have developed as a result to help the problem.

However, sometimes the quickest way to get the results you want is to do it yourself.

Here is a guideline to help you plan your own neighborhood cleanup.

Choose a Date

  • Allow enough time to plan and promote a cleanup event when choosing the date.
  • Make sure to look at a calendar of other community activities so the event won’t clash with another and lack participation.
  • According to Community Life Improvement Programs, Saturday mornings are popular and predicted to be most successful in participation.

Choose your Block Radius

  • Finalize which specific blocks to focus on. This will help in choosing the best locations for trash drop-offs for volunteers.
  • Specifying block radius will also give a good idea of how many volunteers will be needed as well as how much supplies to request.

Promote and Advertise

  • Reach out to nonprofit organizations such as Keep Philadelphia Beautiful and PowerCorpsPHL. They will help with gathering more volunteers and providing a good experience.
  • Contact local residents and businesses in the focused neighborhood.
  • Create digital and print flyers and posters to promote the cleanup.
  • Contact local schools, churches and religious organizations to promote the event to students and members.
  • Outside of social media, Eventbrite and Nextdoor are websites to assist getting the word out about an event in the community.

Request Supplies

  • Make sure to have an organized method of keeping track of supplies. Perhaps having specific monitored locations for pick-up and drop-off of materials.
  • Organizations may be willing to donate or rent materials for a neighborhood cleanup.
  • The Community Partnership Program has an application process to request necessary supplies. The application must be submitted at least a week before your event. Materials can be picked-up from its warehouse at 4000 N. American St. (entrance on Luzerne Street).
  • The program also offers the option to  help coordinate bagged trash pick up after the cleanup is completed. This must be requested prior to the event.

The following equipment is available for request:

  • Leaf rakes
  • Bow rakes
  • Scoop shovels
  • Digging shovels
  • Sweep brooms
  • Push brooms
  • Sidewalk edgers (manual)
  • Paper trash bags

Cleanup Day

  • Have a sign-in sheet available for volunteers, including email addresses. This will help start a contact list for the next community clean-up, as well as to send out appreciation to volunteers.
  • Having water and refreshments available is helpful in keeping volunteers motivated and energized.
  • Take before and after pictures to broadcast the success of the cleanup.

Once completing a neighborhood cleanup, congratulate yourself on a job well done! Every neighborhood cleanup is one step closer to a cleaner city.

Text and image by Ramona Roberts.

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