Instead of a penny for your thoughts, how about $100 for your trash?
Six lucky people will each receive $100 during Saturday’s “Cash for Trash” citywide cleanup event in Charleston.
The Charleston Rotary Club is lead sponsor of the effort, which adds the excitement of a competition to the pride-building work of cleaning up the city.
“It’s a service project of Rotary to help build community awareness,” explained Patti Gregory, one of the organizers.
The event will begin at 9 a.m. with registration at the former National Guard armory on South Cossar Avenue.
There is no age limit, and you need not be a resident of Charleston to join the fun.
At registration, participants will stipulate which one of Charleston’s five wards they are representing. They will be given color-specific plastic bags to fill with trash.
Gloves will be provided, and face masks and hand sanitizer will be available for anyone who wants them.
“I’m excited about it, and I think it’s something that Charleston needs,” Mayor Sedrick Smith said of the event. “We’ve done cleanup once or twice before with Keep America Beautiful. To have a local organization promote it and push it, we welcome it. It’s much needed.”
After registration Saturday, participants will disperse throughout the city and begin to collect litter.
The city will position trucks or side-by-side utility vehicles in each ward. Filled bags may be returned to those portable collection stations.
To ensure proper credit, each bag will be marked with a unique identifying number that corresponds to a number given at registration.
At 12, the collection process is scheduled to end and the weighing begins.
The participant from each ward who collects the most trash by weight will win $100. Only litter — no household garbage — is permitted.
In addition, the name of every participant will be entered into a drawing for $100 cash.
To stoke the competitive spirit, the ward collecting the most litter by weight will be honored with the posting of signs proclaiming them as Charleston’s cleanup champs.
A complimentary hot dog lunch with the mayor will be served at noon at the armory, during which time the day’s winners will be announced. Participants must be present to win.
The meal is funded by Rotarians, and members of the Charleston Arts and Revitalization Effort (CARE) are scheduled to help serve it.
Rotary treasurer Becky Smith said the cleanup is “a group effort,” noting that the club appreciates “the city and the mayor joining in with the Rotary members and people in the community.”
Rotarian Ken Gregory explained, “We hope this is a jump-start to get more Charlestonians involved in taking pride in their community.”
His wife, Patti, mentioned that she hopes to see some youngsters participating in trash collection on Saturday.
“We really need children to get involved and to realize this is an ongoing effort to keep the community clean and to instill pride,” she said.