By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer
Around 130 volunteers combed areas of Berea on Saturday morning to give the town a real “deep clean” for the third annual trash-collecting event.
Spread out among more than seven areas, the group collected nearly 1,100 pounds of trash and 240 pounds of recyclables from 9:30 a.m. until noon.
Afterwards, they were treated to some hearty food and musical entertainment at Brushy Fork Park, where the clean-up project began three years ago.
In its first year, 50 Deep Clean-up volunteers found 1,426 pounds of trash along a 0.64-mile stretch of Berea College property around Brushy Fork Creek.
But, so many people stepped up to volunteer the following year, it made sense to disperse them all across Berea, said event organizer Kelly Kusumoto, a Berea College senior.
She is a member of HEAL, a student-led sustainable community development organization housed in the Center for Excellence in Learning through Service (CELTS).
“We collected so much trash from one area, we knew it had to be all around town,” Kusumoto said.
During the event’s second year, 1,340 pounds of trash and 445 pounds of recyclables were collected.
Areas around Walmart, Prospect Street, Big Hill Road (KY 21), Slate Lick Road, South Broadway Street and the Quaker Friends meeting house also were targeted.
As people heard about the clean-up, HEAL received more requests to pick up items, Kusumoto said, such as a stack of mattresses that washed up to a resident’s home after recent flooding.
Other CELTS organizations, Berea Buddies and Teen Mentoring, along with some of the children they serve, offered support as well.
On the chilly spring day, junior Chan Choi and his younger “buddy” collected trash along the creek. Unable to reach debris in the middle of the stream, Choi took off his shoes and began wading in the cold, murky water.
Community volunteer Jay Rogers rolled up to the drop-off site on a bicycle with two large bags of trash grazing the ground as they hung from his handlebars.
Kusumoto said she hopes the event will continue long after she graduates and that eventually, there will be no more trash to collect.
Crystal Wylie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.