Keep Irving Beautiful (KIB) hosted its 24th Annual Trash Bash, the organization’s signature cleanup event, at Trinity View Park on September 26. The weather was sunny and warm, and 583 volunteers of all ages (291 adults and 292 youth) came out to help pick up litter and keep it out of the nearby Elm Fork of the Trinity River. The group gave 1,749 hours of service in collecting 3,440 pounds of trash and 1,140 pounds of recyclables. Following the event, a lunch was served, with hot dogs and buns donated by Kroger, and chips donated by Frito-Lay. For the fourth year, the Trash Bash was held on National Public Lands Day, with an estimated 175,000 volunteers engaged in similar projects across the country.
KIB tries to bring an educational component to all its activities, and the Trash Bash certainly demonstrates that. Two very popular friends of KIB, naturalist Jon Halsey and reptile expert Barry Allen, returned with their displays of artifacts and snakes, respectively, and Brookhaven EMT Students provided blood pressure screenings as an additional service to the volunteers. The Phi Theta Kappa chapter from North Lake College also had a table with information about scholarship and other educational opportunities.
KIB’s partnerships with City of Irving Departments played a big role in the success of the Trash Bash. The Parks Department reserved the location and provided logistic support, Solid Waste Services provided a roll-off dumpster and weighed the bags collected, and Corporate Communications sent an ICTN crew to video the action and interview the participants. Code Offficers, along with their family members, prepared and served the lunch, and another drove a truck to collect the bags from volunteers. The Mayor’s office also provided an official proclamation declaring September 26 as “Trash Bash Day in Irving.” Sponsors who contributed to the success of the event included VHA, Inc., PlayTri, Frito-Lay, Kroger, AcuGraphics, Fast Signs Las Colinas, Dr. Elba Garcia, and the Rambler and Burb Newspapers. Items for the prize drawing were generously donated by the Irving Family YMCA, Twin Wells Golf, City of Irving Parks and Recreation, Glory House, Arnold Brothers Forest Products, Magician Maxwell Blade, and the Trinity River Kayak Company. North Lake College’s Alpha Zeta Eta chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society was very active in recruiting volunteers from North Lake as well as from chapters at other campuses. They helped with every part of the event, from set up to tear down, and by greeting volunteers, passing out supplies and T-shirts, working in litter crews, and helping with food service. They also collected canned food items on campus, which were combined with those collected from volunteers at the event and donated to the Baptist Benevolent Ministries of Irving Food Pantry.
“The Trash Bash is a fun event that anyone can participate in,” said KIB Board President, Scott Wilson. “We had a great turnout on a beautiful day, and while this is a cleanup, we try to make it more than just picking up trash. Our volunteers, especially the youth, enjoy learning about snakes and fossils, and providing a service like blood pressure screening just adds another element to the event. This is the second year we have done the canned food drive, and we definitely surpassed last year’s collection. I think these things show that not only do we care about our environment, but we also care about our people.”
Keep Irving Beautiful is a non-profit, grassroots, leadership organization dedicated to educating our community about litter abatement, recycling, and beautification in order to help preserve the health and promote the social and economic prosperity of our city. As an award winning affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Texas Beautiful, Keep Irving Beautiful reaches out to and partners with all sectors of our city including government, business, church, cultural, educational, neighborhood and civic organizations. If you are interested in volunteering with KIB, or making your activity a “green event,” please go to www.keepirvingbeautiful.org, or call the KIB office at 972-721-2175.