LIMA — Hundreds of volunteers helped clean up around the Ottawa River, Saturday, despite chilly temperatures.
“[We have] more volunteers than ever before. We have an emphasis on volunteerism and cooperation in many different organizations, families and concerned citizens who are interested in improving the appearance of the community and also people taking pride in the community they live in,” said John Schneider, LACNIP board member.
“There are a lot of positive people in this community who are willing to give their time to volunteer to benefit the entire community,” said Schneider.
Shawnee Middle School students Ellie Hahn and Katie Curl were picking up trash along the river near South Shore Drive and were surprised at the conditions on the river bank.
“It’s really dirty out here and we want to clean it up so animals are safe and the environment’s clean,” said Hahn.
“I did this a couple of years back with my mom and my brothers. I just look and there’s dirt and everything [out here] and it’s not fair for the environment,” said Curl.
Many groups use the cleanup as an opportunity to help the community.
“It cleans up our streams, which is the biggest thing, but it’s service hours for the boys. They’re always looking for somewhere to help out, so this is a great opportunity for them and that’s why we do it every year,” said John Manuel, an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 777.
“It’s a great idea. It helps clean up our river,” said Brian Manuel a member of Boy Scout Troop 777.
Last year, 400 volunteers removed about 20 tons of debris from the river banks.
The event is organized by Lima Area Neighborhoods in Partnership (LACNIP), working with the City of Lima, the Ottawa River Coalition and Keep Allen County Beautiful.
“I think it’s very important. It gives a chance to get the river cleaned up and gives groups an opportunity to work out there, and I think it’s a real good opportunity” said Robert Friedman, LACNIP board member and president of the Boulevard Neighborhood Association.
“There’s families here, there’s groups. I just signed up a group from Lincolnview schools. So there’s people from all over the area,” said Friedman.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.