Maybe you saw them Saturday, sweeping throughout the Hill with gloves and large, black garbage bags: more than sixty volunteers of the Capitol Hill Clean Up Crews.
These volunteers, including many families, school children and an entire girl scout troop met at 10 a.m. at the triangle park near the corner of Independence Avenue and 15th Street SE to pick up their supplies, which included trash bags and gloves but also girl scout cookies as well as coffee and donuts from nearby from founding sponsor 7-Eleven (1501 Independence Ave. SE), owned by Gursharan Singh.
Tom Dunkel, who founded the litter eradication project together with neighbor Brendan Casey, announced at the event that five additional companies had agreed to support the project. These businesses will provide supplies and a place to deposit collected trash as well as acting as additional satellite sites at which volunteers can meet on future clean-up days.
The full list of sponsors and clean-up crew meet-up sites now includes:
- Historic Congressional Cemetery (1801 E St. SE)
- Fulcrum Properties Group (1328 G St. SE)
- Frager’s Hardware (1323 E St. SE)
- Trusty’s Full-Serve Restaurant and Bar (1420 Pennsylvania Ave SE)
- The Pretzel Bakery (257 15 St. SE)
- The Capital Candy Jar (201 15 St NE), and
- Founding sponsor 7-Eleven (1501 Independence Ave SE)
The volunteers headed off eagerly to collect litter throughout the neighborhood with encouraging words from Councilman Charles Allen and Director of the Mayor’s Office of the Clean City Julie Lawson.
Allen said that he appreciated all the volunteers and the businesses that supported them. Noting that he and his daughter like to take 30-minute litter pick-up walks, he said “we feel better about it, but you also see that it’s contagious –you’ll also see your neighbors might start picking stuff up.”
Lawson said that the Office of the Clean City has a new initiative this year, the first city-wide clean initiative for Earth Day on April 21st . She said she was very happy to see everyone out for the event and encouraged them to return to the streets on Earth Day. “Come out for thirty minutes and put a shine and buff on what you’ve already done,” she said.
After spending an hour collecting trash, volunteers met at Fulcrum Properties for a celebratory after-party,
sharing coffee, donuts and mimosa as well as tales about their adventures and the treasures they found along the way. One teenager found a statue of Jesus; a student found a hand-made ceramic candle holder. Another volunteer reported that in the past among the litter they picked up on the Hill was a twenty-dollar bill, as though the earth were rewarding his efforts.
Founder Dunkel said that community members could sign up to receive notice about upcoming clean-up days and sites, and then choose when and where to help out. “If everyone just came out two or three times a year to give an hour of their time, it would make a huge difference,” he said at the event.
Learn more about the clean-up crew, express interest in becoming a sponsor or sign up for the newsletter send an email to CleanCapHill@gmail.com. Crews meet once a month, usually on the first Saturday, at any one of the six sites.